Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
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1 December deadline: Has your businesses pre-registered its chemicals yet?

1 December deadline: Has your businesses pre-registered its chemicals yet?

DEPARTMENT FOR ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS News Release (356/08) issued by COI News Distribution Service. 10 November 2008

There are only three weeks to go before businesses face a mandatory obligation to register their use of chemicals.

Legislation for enforcing REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) is laid before Parliament today, which will come into force when the pre-registration period ends and businesses must register their chemicals.

Pre-registering the chemical substances they manufacture or import allows businesses to take advantage of the phased registration deadlines in REACH, which could mean not having to register in full until June 2018. Pre-registration also offers a chance to reduce registration costs. If a business has not pre-registered their chemicals by 1 December, they will be forced to stop importing or manufacturing that until they have completed full registrations for them.

Environment Minister Huw Irranca-Davies said:

"REACH is a welcome change in the way chemicals are controlled and how their use is managed throughout the EU.

"Businesses must find out now whether REACH will affect them, as there are only three weeks left before the end of the pre-registration period and the start of enforcement.

"Even if you don't think REACH applies to your business, check to make sure of that - many businesses rely on chemicals without realising it, and missing the pre-registration deadline of 1 December will not help your businesses meet legal requirements."

The main aim of REACH is to improve the protection of human health and the environment through better and earlier identification of the intrinsic properties of chemicals. It will make those who place chemicals on the market responsible for providing this information and passing it down the supply chain, so that the risks associated with their use are managed properly. It will also enhance innovation in, and the competitiveness of, European industry through the removal of particularly hazardous substances and the need to replace them with safer alternatives.

Comprehensive information on REACH is available on the UK REACH Competent Authority website at

Notes for Editors

1. REACH is the EU Regulation for the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals. It was adopted in December 2006 by the co-decision process, entered into force on 1 June 2007, and will be implemented in stages up to 1 June 2018.

2. In line with the principles established by the 2005 Hampton Review, and the Better Regulation initiative, REACH enforcement will be carried out by the existing authorities responsible for occupational health and safety, environmental protection, and consumer safety in all parts of the United Kingdom, including territorial waters and UK Continental Shelf.

3. The Statutory Instrument (SI) laid before Parliament forms the legal framework of Regulations within which the enforcement authorities will operate. The Regulations establish in UK law the set of offences, and the penalties which the courts may impose, which can arise from non-compliance with REACH. The SI identifies the enforcement authorities and gives them the powers they need - such as entering premises or asking for information. It also gives the authorities the powers to prosecute or issue a range of enforcement notices to help secure compliance with REACH. The SI will come into force on 1 December.

4. Because it is an EU Regulation, REACH is directly applicable law in all Member States (including the UK). However, it is for each Member State to put in place the necessary domestic enforcement legislation by 1 December 2008.

5. The REACH enforcement authorities are:

* The Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
* The Health and Safety Executive of Northern Ireland (HSENI)
* The Environment Agency (EA)
* The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)
* The Department of the Environment Northern Ireland (DoENI)
* Local authorities (in respect of their health and safety and consumer protection roles)
* The Secretary of State (meaning BERR, with its responsibility for offshore facilities)

6. REACH requires manufacturers and importers of all chemicals on the EU market in quantities of one tonne per year or more to be registered, and to provide a set of information about the substance. There are about 100,000 chemicals currently on the market, of which about 30,000 meet the one tonne threshold. REACH provides phased registration deadlines up to 1 June 2018, based on certain tonnage bands, but to qualify for these, businesses must pre-register their substances. Pre-registration also gives companies the chance to share costs and secure reduced registration fees. The pre-registration period is 1 June - 1 December 2008.

7. Failure to pre-register substances will mean that an immediate registration is required after 1 December if the company wants to legally continue to manufacture or import chemicals - otherwise they will have to be taken off the market until a registration is made.

8. Defra has been working with the UK REACH Competent Authority (provided by the HSE) and other Government Departments, such as BERR, on an industry REACH awareness-raising campaign since summer 2007. This has involved four national conferences, nearly 30 regional roadshows, the creation of a REACH website and Helpdesk, articles and adverts in trade publications, online search and advertising, and a radio advert broadcast nationwide on regional and national stations.

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