The cleaning industry UK is separated into different sectors. You find domestic cleaners, commercial cleaners, and industrial cleaners. Industrial cleaning involves the use of chemicals, and compliance with REACH. So, what will happen when the UK makes its departure from the EU? The answer is a complex time for many people; for expats living abroad, from migrants in the UK, and also for industrial cleaning experts for import and export chemicals for their cleaning company.
Cleaning Industry UK : REACH after Brexit
Exports of chemicals to the EU account for around 22 billion euros every year. It is not surprising therefore that the cleaning industry UK is worried about what will happen next. Once the UK is no longer in the EU, will REACH regulations apply? What changes will take place? REACH was brought into place to control the import and export of chemicals within the UK. It includes the registering of chemicals as well as the responsibility to make the least possibly impact on the environment possible. REACH regulations are complex. There are 526 pages of regulations to read through. So, once Brexit takes place, will all these regulations become null?
Many companies believe that the removal of REACH will be welcomed. After all, it is a burdensome piece of European regulation that many small companies do not like to deal with. But, nothing is ever quite that simple, is it? As of today, REACH will still apply for the first two years following Brexit. What happens after that is still up in the air so to speak. In the same way as are the lives of hundreds and thousands of people with UK nationality who live abroad.
Options that have been negotiated so far include the joining of the EEA. Currently Iceland and Norway are in the EEA but not in the EU. Another option is to follow suit o Switzerland. Switzerland is not in the single market and enjoys free trade agreements. As a member of the EEA, the UK would have to obey REACH. If the UK opts to total leave, REACH would no longer apply. This would mean that the UK would no longer have any input into EU chemical policies.
Brexit is affecting everyone. Even those who think nothing will change for them. The truth is that an exit from the EU and a possible exit from the EEA will have consequences for everyone. For Brits who have moved abroad, for Brits who have never left Great Britain, and of course for the owners of industrial cleaning companies who currently have to comply with REACH.
The future for chemical supplies, their import and export is very unsure. Will importing and exporting chemicals become harder? Will it be more expensive? Will cleaning companies no longer have access to the chemicals they have always used for decades? No one really knows the answer. What is certain however, is that Brexit will affect business owners in the UK, and industrial cleaning companies are just one sector that will be impacted by the decision made by the UK to wave goodbye to the EU.