UK REACH Consultation 2024: Impact on Chemical Regulations

14 June 2024

Navigating Changes in UK REACH: Alternative Transitional Registration Model (ATRm), A Consultation for Future Improvements

In the Great Britain (GB) the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), has launched a public consultation on proposed changes to the UK Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (UK REACH) program. This consultation is open from 16 May to 11 July, 2024 and invites feedback from stakeholders on a series of amendments. These amendments aim to reduce costs and concerns to business and the authorities within the scope of UK REACH, while continuing to uphold stringent health and environmental standards.

Key Proposals Under Consideration in the UK REACH Consultation

Alternative Transitional Registration Model (ATRm):

The new model comprises proposals designed to reduce UK REACH registration costs by approximately 70% for the industry, without compromising safety.

How does DEFRA Plan to achieve this?
By lowering the required amount of hazard data for a registration when this information is already published by official EU sources. This is done under the assumption that GB companies will only import into GB at either the same or lower tonnage band as that registered within the EU.

However, substances new to the UK market will not benefit from this reduced hazard data requirement.

Instead, UK authorities intend to focus more heavily on specific use and exposure data for chemicals. The EU has identified this as a weakness in the current EU data sets, and the UK aims to tailor measures specifically to how chemicals are handled in GB, ensuring regulation only where necessary within GB.

New powers for the regulators are also potentially being considered including a new transitional evaluation process for no less than 20% of applicants. This is triggered when “the Agency considers that it requires information in addition to the contents of that dossier. This is to fulfil its regulatory responsibilities, including further assessing the potential hazards and/or risks and assurance that registrants have correctly identified these”.

Finally, the introduction of “Substance groups” will replace the EU SIEF mechanism. Companies registering the same substance would ideally submit a joint registration with a single lead registrant instead of each company registering independently.

Improvements to Restrictions and Reporting Processes:

The consultation involves discussions on modifying existing restrictions and reporting mechanisms. These changes aim to make processes more efficient and less burdensome for both business and the competent authorities.

These changes include:

  • Reducing the number of regular reports currently required from the UK authorities
  • Removing duplicate processes caused by the difference in structure of the UK competent authorities compared to those in the EU.

This should ultimately result in an improved capacity for other regulatory affairs and a reduction in consultation period for the restriction process.

Advocacy Against Unnecessary Animal Testing:

Proposals are in place to enhance protections against unnecessary animal testing, by extending the vertebrate testing proposal requirements to all tonnage bands. This highlights the government’s commitment to enhanced ethical practices whilst still maintaining protective to human health.

The consultation actively seeks feedback from chemical businesses, downstream users, and NGOs. It emphasizes the government’s inclusive approach to policy refinement. Additionally, as Part Four of the consultation examines potential trade impacts, it invites stakeholders to consider how these changes could affect both international and local market dynamics.


So far, the consultation has been generally well received by the industry. However, concerns remain both around the legality of accessing EU hazard data and any implications and costs associated with the transitional evaluation process. Compiling use and exposure information is notably challenging, given the complexity of today’s multi-layered supply chains. Moreover, basing chemical legislation on this type of information could result in loss of protection as the information is just not readily available.

Confidentiality and Data Protection

Participants in the consultation can request confidentiality for their responses. This adherence to the Environmental Information Regulations 2004, the Freedom of Information Act 2000, and the Data Protection Act 2018 ensures privacy and security. This ensures that stakeholders can provide candid feedback without concern over undue disclosure of sensitive information.

Looking Forward: Next Steps in the Consultation Process

The feedback received will be instrumental in drafting a Statutory Instrument and a comprehensive impact assessment. This will set the stage for a second round of consultations. This process highlights the government’s commitment to creating a balanced and effective regulatory framework in the post-Brexit era.

Participate in the UK REACH Consultation

This represents a pivotal opportunity for stakeholders to influence the future of chemical regulation in the UK. To participate and provide your feedback, helping to shape a regulatory environment that is both effective and sustainable, respond to the questionnaire here.

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