Regulation for the registration, evaluation, restriction and authorisation of chemicals (REACH)
Government department lead
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). HSE and other government departments have an interest.
REACH aims to manage the manufacture, import and supply of chemicals in Europe. Under it:
- Chemicals manufactured or imported in quantities greater than one tonne will have to be registered.
- Chemicals manufactured or imported in quantities greater than 100 tonnes will have to be evaluated and certain substances of high concern, such as carcinogenic, mutagenic and reproductive toxic substances (CMRs) will have to be authorised.
- Chemicals will be registered in three phases over 11 years following the Regulation’s entry into force, according to the tonnage of the substance.
- The European Parliament and the Council of Ministers adopted REACH in December 2006.
- REACH came into force on 1 June 2007. The new European Chemical Agency is recruiting staff, and will be up and running in 2008.
- In October 2006, Ministers appointed HSE, working in partnership with Defra to be the UK REACH Competent Authority. The formal arrangements for establishing the Competent Authority are in the final stages.
- HSE has set up a helpdesk to support enquirers.
- HSE are attending trade association and other stakeholder events to discuss REACH, and are working with Defra to deliver a wider HMG communication strategy and plan.
- There is currently a lot of work going into implementing REACH, including a new building in Helsinki to house the European Chemical Agency and significant work on guidance for industry and the Competent Authority.
- The Competent Authority has specific responsibilities set out in REACH and found on the REACH website.
- Although REACH is a directly acting EU Regulation and does not need to be put into UK law, the UK will need to produce laws to enforce REACH.
- HSE continues to work with its partners to develop the Competent Authority and with Defra and enforcing colleagues on enforcement policy. Defra is developing the enforcement regime taking into account responses to their recent consultation, and HSE are working closely with Defra and other departments to support this work.