The UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has confirmed that it is “now on the journey” to facilitate joint registrations in its no-deal Brexit UK REACH-IT system.
Speaking at a joint Brexit workshop held with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in Liverpool yesterday, Defra’s deputy director for chemicals Gabrielle Edwards said “a lot of work” on processes is needed before it is ready.
She added that while Defra “has always been clear” that it wants to replicate joint registrations as they currently happen in the EU, the government has had to focus on delivering critical day-one functionality, including:
- registration of existing UK-held registrations via grandfathering;
- submission of downstream user import notifications; and
- submission of new substance registrations and product and process orientated research and development notifications (Ppord).
Last month Defra tested this approach with about 40 industry representatives using the system. This exercise followed an earlier session back in February with more than 100 industry users.
The September event resulted in “some positive feedback [with users] saying they understand it and it is easy to use, recognising we’ve done a lot of work to try and take onboard comments of previous testing”, she said.
At this stage, the IT system does not record the lead registrant of a substance.
The government is looking at the “best ways” to assign lead registrants, “but it won’t be based on necessarily someone just claiming it”, the HSE’s James Lloyd said. “The idea is that, once you are in the substance group, you have contact details of others and work out who should be the lead registrant. The precise mechanism for that has not been developed yet.”
The issue of tackling two registrations being made for one substance was also raised. This could happen when a company from outside consortia ‘mines’ Echa data and submits its own registration.
Defra presented its UK REACH provisions and engaged in a Q&A session. “We were quite pleasantly surprised by their understanding about the requirements needed to continue to import in the UK,” Ms Edwards said. She added that UK REACH requirements have been translated into several EU languages.
Defra and HSE also informed the Liverpool workshop about a new UK chemicals helpline, which will open on 1 November and run from 09.00-17.00 GMT Monday to Friday. It will deal with general Brexit-related enquiries, while specific or complex questions will be forwarded to Defra and HSE experts.
The new service is an addition to, and not a replacement of, the HSE’s existing helpdesk service.