How will the United Kingdom manage chemical regulations as they leave the European Union? One option is to come up with a new, British regulatory system.

A new survey of 100 members of the Alliance of Chemical Associations finds that 70% believe that separate UK chemical regulatory requirements would be a problem, according to Chemical Watch.

A pricey solution

Developing a separate system would be costly, for one thing. Some UK leaders have called for a new system similar to the U.S. TSCA system. Some commenters favor this less stringent kind of system, believing that more relaxed regulations would help British companies keep costs down. On the other hand, environmentalists are concerned about public safety issues that could arise.

However, the development and implementation of a UK-specific system will undoubtedly take time and money, and specific numbers have not yet been determined. One complication will be that UK companies will not be able to assume that other European companies will cooperate with them when it comes to data sharing for a new UK-only system. That could mean additional testing of substances.

A UK-only system would also leave companies in a state of uncertainty during its development. This could have consequences for corporations.

REACH won’t go away

UK companies wanting access to the EU market will still have to comply with REACH. One of the options for the UK is to negotiate simple access to the EU market. If this succeeds, broad compliance with REACH will still be required.

If the UK is not able to negotiate that level of access or chooses not to do so, UK companies wanting access to the EU market will still have to comply with REACH as manufacturers. But other non-EU companies which must comply with REACH in order to participate in European markets may not be willing to meet separate UK requirements. Faced with multiple chemical regulatory requirements, some companies may opt to give up the UK market.

Companies based in the EU may choose to leave the UK if meeting a separate set of chemical regulations proves to be too costly or complex.

A decision is needed

British companies have spent an estimated 250,000,000 pounds on REACH compliance, according to a new report by the House of Commons’ Environmental Audit Committee. Because of this, and the cost to taxpayers of developing a new, British system, the Committee recommends that the UK continue to use REACH. However, the report includes a claim that the UK won’t just be able to declare that REACH will apply in the UK.

In the survey mentioned above, more than 20% of respondents doing business in the UK said that they would consider leaving Britain if a separate chemical regulatory system is put in place.

The Environmental Audit Committee has demanded a decision from Parliament. But each affected company will have to make decisions, too.

If your company may be affected by Brexit chemical regulation changes, you’ll need a compliance management solution that is both robust and flexible. EUPHOR was designed with chemical regulatory compliance projects of all kinds in mind. It’s perfect for REACH, but flexible enough to handle other regimes as well. Sign up for a demo and see how EUPHOR can work for you.

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