HSE Guidance (UK Brexit)

HSE has now created an online resource for the UK Brexit Notices (the ones it is dealing with) and it’s own guidance for its new role in Chemicals Regulation (I posted about the new role for HSE recently). This online resource is here.

On this resource is new additional REACH guidance here.

Plus an important table with key dates here. Note the downstream user stipulations in this table.

F-Gases & ODS (Brexit UK)

The UK Government has today issued a Technical Notice of instructions on using and trading F-Gases and ODS. This notice is here.

If there is no deal :

(1) The UK will regulate fluorinated greenhouse gases (F gas) and ozone-depleting substances (ODS) from 30 March 2019.

(2) The EU F gas and ODS regulations will no longer apply in the UK from 30 March 2019.

(3) New UK regulations will transfer most of the requirements of the EU regulations into UK law. [these are not yet published in draft, when they are published, I will add to the Brexit Law List in Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers & Checklists]

(4) The UK will continue to:

• restrict ODS

• use the same schedule as the EU to phase down HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons, the most common type of F gas) by 79% by 2030 relative to a 2009 to 2012 baseline

That means UK F gas quotas will follow the same phase down steps as the EU:

• limited to 63% of the baseline in 2019 and 2020

• reducing to 45% of the baseline in 2021

(5) The UK will manage its own quota systems, and UK companies will need to register for a UK quota.

Where a company produces, imports or exports HFCs (the main class of F gases) or ODS, or products containing HFCs or ODS, it will need to apply for a:

• UK quota to place them on the UK market

• EU quota to place them on the EU market

If the company imports or exports ODS, including to and from the EU, it will need to apply for a UK import or export licence.

(6) The Environment Agency will administer the systems for the whole of the UK.

(7) After 30 March 2019 a company will need a UK HFC quota if it places on the UK market HFCs equivalent to 100 tonnes or more of carbon dioxide (CO2 ) per year. This total includes any imports to the UK from the EU.

(8) The Environment Agency will manage a new UK F gas system, including UK HFC quota allocation.

Companies will need to register on the new UK F gas system to:

• apply for a UK quota

• report on activities

If the Environment Agency has company data, it may register details for you.

The Environment Agency will publish details of how to use the UK F gas systems in early 2019. [I will update this post, or issue a separate post, at that time]

(9) Leak detection and other obligations will not change.

(10) Further rules are set out in the Notice, this post is not a full summary. Please read the Notice.

Chemicals Regulation – CLP (Brexit UK)

The UK has today updated its Technical Notice on CLP, and this now gives further instructions, here.

If there is no deal :

(1) The UK would establish an independent standalone chemicals regime. [this is looking increasingly likely in any event, deal or no deal]

(2) At the time of exit, as the UK would effectively adopt the GHS in the same way as the EU, the UK classification and labelling regime would be based on the existing EU regulatory regime in order to provide continuity for businesses, with amendments to enable functions presently carried out by the EU (including those performed by ECHA), instead being carried out in the UK by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

(3) Companies operating in the UK will deal with HSE in place of ECHA.

(4) The main duties and obligations on suppliers to classify, label and package hazardous chemicals placed on the market will remain in place.

This means the duties on UK manufacturers, importers and downstream users to classify, label and package the substances and mixtures they place on the UK market will remain.

This would also be the case for the obligations on those suppliers to identify, examine and evaluate available scientific and information on substances and mixtures where it relates to the possible physical, health or environmental hazardous properties of those chemicals to ensure all the requirements of classification are fulfilled.

Suppliers must also comply with mandatory classification and labelling.

[please note, it’s still unclear if current downstream user obligations under REACH will be continue, I posted about this the other day]

(5) Companies importing chemicals into the UK from EU countries would become importers under CLP and would need to be sufficiently competent to comply with the duties and obligations on an importer, just as they would if importing chemicals into the UK from a non-EU country.

(6) HSE would have the ability to put in place new arrangements for mandatory classification and labelling. These arrangements would allow new and revised classification and labelling to be proposed, considered in liaison with the devolved authorities and adopted for the UK.

(7) Companies would be required to use new UK arrangements and IT tools provided by HSE. These IT tools would be a UK mandatory classification and labelling list (of substances) and a UK notification database. The new arrangements will be operational after 29 March 2019.

(8) Responsibility for chemicals being imported into the EU from the UK would rest with whoever is the EU-based importer (remember, a third country importing into the EU will require the use of an EU-based legal entity) – the importer may therefore need details of the chemicals involved from the UK-based company.

Chemicals Regulation – REACH (Brexit UK)

This is a repeat post on the subject, this time drawing attention to gaps.

ECHA has guidance (continually updated) to companies in the form of Q&A – here. I posted about this before.

The UK has a Technical Notice (REACH) – here. I posted about that before.

The UK Technical Notice confirms –

“UK would ensure UK legislation replaces EU legislation via the EU Withdrawal Act, establish a UK regulatory framework and build domestic capacity to deliver the functions currently performed by ECHA. The legislation would preserve REACH as far as possible, while making technical changes that would need to be made because the UK has left the EU.”

And“• Businesses with existing EU REACH registrations being automatically grandfathered into the UK regime or authorisations would have to validate their existing registration with the UK authority (the HSE), opening an account on the new UK IT system and providing some basic information on their existing registration within 60 days of the UK leaving the EU. This IT system is being tested with a range of different users so that it is ready to support registrations of chemicals in the UK from March 2019.

• Companies with grandfathered registrations would have two years from the day the UK leaves the EU to provide the UK authority (the HSE) with the full data package that supported their original EU registration and is held on the ECHA IT system.

• Businesses that imported chemicals from the EEA before the UK leaves the EU (but who did not have an EU REACH registration), would need to notify the UK authority and provide some basic data on the chemicals within 180 days of the UK leaving the EU, instead of having to undertake a full registration immediately. This would be an interim arrangement for those importers and they would need to move to full registration at a later date following a review of this approach.

• Importing businesses would be responsible for identifying appropriate risk management measures and recommending them to their customers.”

No Brexit law is yet drafted, but note the above IT system notification requirements. (Reminder, subscribers to Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation & Registers have a global OHS and ENV Brexit Law list supplied, updated)

REACH does not only deal with registration of chemicals, it also has obligations on downstream users to inform, and REACH regulates the content and distribution of safety data sheets.

The ECHA Q&A has it (2017) that UK users of chemicals will have no obligation to inform of uses back up the chain (one of the REACH downstream user obligations). The UK Technical Notice is silent, bar the IT system interaction.

Both are silent on Safety Data Sheets.

I will update this post, if information comes to light this side of Christmas. Otherwise there will be a new post on the general topic in 2019.

Montreal Protocol – Kigali Amendment (International Law)

The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is a Protocol to the UNEP Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer. The Montreal Protocol is in force, sufficient states have ratified. In the EU bloc, the Montreal Protocol is given effect by an existing EU Regulation on Ozone Depleting Substances. In addition, a separate EU Regulation regulates Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases (F-gases).

The Kigali Amendment is specifically focussed on the global phasedown of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) – powerful greenhouse gases. HFCs account for 85% of present F-gas supply. UNEP has a FAQ here.

HFCs, used mainly in refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump equipment, are thousands of times more harmful to the climate than CO2. In response to the rapid growth of HFC emissions, the 197 parties to the Montreal Protocol adopted the Kigali Amendment in 2016 to reduce gradually their global production and consumption.

The EU has been phasing down HFCs since 2015 (and has a separate EU Regulation on the matter). EU Member States are in the process of ratifying the Kigali Amendment individually.

All 197 Montreal Protocol parties agreed to take steps to gradually reduce the production and use of HFCs. The first reduction step to be taken by the EU and other developed countries is required in 2019, while most developing countries will start their phasedown in 2024.

The Kigali Amendment will enter into force on 1 January 2019.

Montreal Protocol parties continue to ratify the Amendment, which has so far been ratified by 60 parties. The parties, listed alphabetically, are: Austria, Australia, Barbados, Belgium, Benin, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chile, Comoros, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Ecuador, Estonia, European Union, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guinea Bissau, Hungary, Ireland, Kiribati, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Netherlands, Niger, Niue, Norway, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Portugal, Rwanda, Samoa, Senegal, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Uruguay, Vanuatu.

A useful assessment of the EU F-gas regulation dating March 2018 is here.

This highlights the further changes mandated by the Kigali Amendment to implement a HFC licensing system.

BREXIT : the UK has ratified the Kigali Amendment

US : the US has not yet ratified the Kigali Amendment

China : China has not yet ratified the Kigali Amendment

A useful assessment of the US and China current state is here. (Source – here)

New Chemicals Instructions (EU Brexit Preparedness)

ECHA (the European Chemicals Agency) has new support pages – here.

These pages contain the most detailed information so far.

The UK has also issued Technical Notices, some of these are relevant for Chemicals. But, many gaps still persist.

Please visit the Chemicals category on this Blog, for the posts I have written on Chemicals and Brexit Preparedness.

We still have no instruction on Safety Data Sheets.