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 http://www.hse.gov.uk/reach
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
* The Scottish Environment Protection Agency
* The Department of the Environment Northern Ireland
* 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
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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