UK REACH after end of transition period

In January 2020, the UK left the European Union. The EU Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation & Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulations continue to apply in the UK until the end of transition period on 31 December 2020.

The UK government and the EU are working to secure a comprehensive agreement on the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. However the expectation is that the UK REACH will start to apply in the UK from 1 January 2021 and businesses need to prepare for a transition to the new system. SMMT developed new guidance on requirements for companies wishing to maintain compliance with the UK REACH after the end of the transition period.

The guidance has been developed by SMMT in cooperation with Automotive Task Force on REACH and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), and highlights the actions required to continue UK business.

This guidance also includes automotive industry recommendations designed to provide a consistent and efficient approach to chemicals compliance.

Those affected by the creation of the UK REACH are advised to start implementing the necessary compliance actions without delay.

SMMT REACH 2021 Guidance for UK Market

UK REACH 2021 Questions and Answers


REACH came into force in June 2007. It aims to reduce the risk from chemicals to humans and the environment and encourages the substitution of unsafe chemicals. The rules affect manufacturers and suppliers in the automotive industry and also companies in other industry sectors. Importers or manufacturers are obliged to submit safety data on more than 30,000 substances used in everyday articles such as cars, textiles, electronics, paints, packaging, mobile phones or toys.

The Regulation itself runs to around 900 pages, so a task force was set up to make it more relevant and straightforward to the auto supply chain. Comprising SMMT and representatives of major vehicle manufacturers (ACEA, JAMA and KAMA) as well as CLEPA, the body representing European suppliers, the group created an Automotive Industry Guideline (AIG) on REACH.

The latest edition was published in June 2012 and can be downloaded here.

In July 2015, a new annex titled ‘Safety Data Sheet Compliance Checks’ was added to the English documentation set. This annex provides guidance for downstream users on conducting plausibility checks of incoming safety data sheets (SDSs).

Useful links:

EC https://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/chemicals/reach_en

Defra https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-comply-with-reach-chemical-regulations


ECHA http://echa.europa.eu/regulations/reach