Background and Context

Following the withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU), the EU REACH Regulation[1] has been brought into UK law in the form of UK REACH[2], which retains key principles of the EU REACH Regulation.

This briefing is designed to offer clarity to LBMA Members on UK REACH obligations, which aim to improve the protection of human health and the environment from the risks that can be posed by chemicals, including those utilised within the refinement of precious metals.

Key principles within UK REACH include:

  • Substances — in mixtures or in articles manufactured in or imported into UK at levels equal or higher to 1 ton per annum per legal entity — must be registered by that legal entity.
  • Manufacturers outside UK need to appoint an Only Representative based in UK to register on their behalf; or ensure their importers register under UK REACH, observing the following deadlines which apply according to the tonnage and classification of the substances:
Deadline Tonnage Hazardous property
28 October 2023 1,000 tonnes or more per year Carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic for reproduction (CMRs) - 1 tonne or more per year. Very toxic to aquatic organisms (acute or chronic) - 100 tonnes or more per year. Candidate list substances (as at 31 December 2020)
28 October 2025 100 tonnes or more per year Candidate list substances (as at 27 October 2023)
28 October 2027 1 tonne or more per year  
  • Registrations are to be submitted in the form of joint submissions where a Lead Registration is appointed to submit all common information on the substance, and co-registrants submit their company-specific information and refer to the joint submission, provided they have purchased their right to do so. Please see table of costs below:
Individual submission Joint submission
£1,518 £1,138
£4,080 £3,061
£10,913 £8,185
£29,419 £22,064
  • Registration fees need to be paid for each registration to the UK HSE, the regulatory body responsible for the implementation and the enforcement of UK REACH.
  • The UK REACH-IT system is called ‘Comply with UK REACH Service’ and IUCLID — software to record, store, maintain and exchange data on intrinsic and hazard properties of chemical substances — is also used to submit the dossiers by the applicable deadlines.

Contrary to EU REACH, UK REACH does not foresee a pre-registration phase. Instead, specific ‘light’ submissions must be made to the HSE in 2021 to join the substance groups to agree on substance identity, data- and cost-sharing, and appoint a Lead Registrant — and benefit from the three registration deadlines.

The type of 2021 submission depends on whether the legal entity is UK or not and whether the substance and the legal entity were already covered by a EU REACH Registration. 2021 submissions include Grandfathering (GF) and Downstream User Importer Notifications (DUIN). Article 26 Inquiries need to be submitted by entities not meeting the requirements to benefit from either the GF or DUIN approaches. Figures 1 and 2, below, provide an outline of the possible 2021 submission scenarios under UK REACH, while figure 3 provides a comparative overview of the three submission types.

Figure 1. 2021 UK REACH submissions applicable per legal entity based in GB/ UK

*Even if the EU Registration was transferred to an EU based legal entity before 1 Jan 2021.