Coronavirus chemicals update, 21st December 2020

Dear Friend,

Happy Monday! And Happy Winter Solstice! I’ve put up our tree and decorations a few days early, as it’s so dark and dreary we need the cheeriness of the lights and tinsel.

If you’re nerds like Mike and me, you may be hoping to be able to see the Grand Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn tonight. You can get a picture of the sky in your location here: (use the “search for city or place” function to get your local view).

It’s Day 273 of Lockdown, and, as predicted, the Christmas loosening for Lockdown here in the UK has been drastically tightened.  And, in breaking news, the Brexit talks are continuing, having missed yet another deadline, see .

Breaking news – PCN arrangements in GB and Northern Ireland

Many thanks to Alastair Gardner at DIT, who has sent through this link:


  • PCN in GB continues to be voluntary, and continues to be submission of SDSs to NPIS in Birmingham by email
  • PCN for Northern Ireland is mandatory and will be by producing the IUCLID6 file and emailing it to NPIS

Therefore submissions for NI must be provided in the form of a PCN and sent directly to NPIS Birmingham as the appointed body.

In order for submissions to be valid, they must be either:

  • produced directly in the ECHA-approved
  • if produced using a third-party tool, the submission must first be imported into the ECHA PCN, and exported as an .i6z dossier. This exported dossier will be accepted by NPIS as a submission

These submissions should be made via email to .”

This will hopefully not be too tricky (apart from emailing the files, presumably they will have to be zipped), if you have made submissions to the rest of the EU using the Portal, but will be a problem if you only supply Northern Ireland, not the rest of the EU; or if you have not made any Portal notifications. Definitely important to read the small print.

Christmas arrangements in the UK

Instead of 5 days where we can form “Christmas bubbles”, this is now confined to Christmas Day itself. London is going into a new Tier 4 see , and Nicola Sturgeon is closing Scotland off from the other countries in the UK (in effect England, which has the only land border, see ).

The last time Christmas was cancelled in Great Britain…

Some information on the Puritans banning Christmas: .

Brexit Transition updates from Heather Thomas of BEIS

Please find attached an updated chemicals Q&A – V2 see here. We have added responses to some of the outstanding questions from the chemical webinars, as well as adding into the document Q&A that Defra have responded to separately from other events etc. There shouldn’t be any hint of onions this time – thanks to the eagle-eyed among you who spotted it 😊.

More broadly:

1. Tariff suspensions regime – on Weds 16 December the legislation implementing the announcement of the UK Global Tariff (made back in May 2020) was laid before Parliament as part of a wider legislative package (see announcement ). This package included legislating to suspend import duties on certain goods in cases where the competitiveness of UK businesses would otherwise be harmed. The SIs and associated explanatory memorandums will be available on the in due course. Reference documents will be available on the in due course. The legislation for the duty suspensions regime confirms the rolling over of existing suspensions that already apply in the UK as part of the EU customs union, and transitioning non-agri autonomous tariff quotas into simple, time-limited suspensions.. The rolled-over tariff suspensions will be in force for an initial period of 12 months. The Government will conduct a stakeholder engagement exercise in the first half of 2021, which will inform any subsequent decision on the UK’s long-term suspensions regime.

2. The Goods Vehicle Movement Service – information has been published for hauliers which move goods through a port in the UK that uses the Goods Vehicle Movement Service. Hauliers will need to register for the service to get goods through customs. More information on how to move goods through ports that use the Goods Vehicle Movement Service, is available . And details of how to register have been published .

3. ECMT international road haulage permits – Guidance has been updated to confirm that emails have been sent to tell applicants if they’ve been allocated an ECMT permit for 2021 (permits were heavily oversubscribed). More information is available . These letters set out that “if there is agreement on an FTA it is probable that it will provide certain rights for UK hauliers to access EU markets without the need for ECMT permits”. And “furthermore it remains the Government’s view that in the absence of agreement on an FTA the EU is likely to adopt a ‘temporary connectivity’ measure which would also allow UK hauliers to continue business to and from the EU for a number of months, again without the need for ECMT permits. The Government would use the lifetime of such a measure to put in place more permanent arrangements to allow UK hauliers to access EU markets and vice versa without the need for ECMT permits.” Related to this, on 10 December, the EU published a “REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on common rules ensuring basic road freight and road passenger connectivity following the end of the transition period……………………”available. The plans are designed to ensure that “basic connectivity” for road freight and passenger transport can continue for six months after the transition period ends if no deal is reached, provided that reciprocal arrangements are put in place in the UK for EU operators. For example, the “proposed Regulation provides for the unilateral granting of rights for bilateral carriage to road haulage operators established in United Kingdom so that they can continue to carry goods between their territory and the Union.”

4. The Check a HGV service is now .

5. Traders can apply for the NI trusted trader scheme .

6. The second edition of the haulier handbook went live on on 14 December and is available (it’s an update of the haulier handbook which was published in November; the key addition is on traffic management).

7. HMRC will also continue to run webinars into the new year – businesses can sign up .

8. Key helpdesks:

· HMRC Customs & International Trade Helpline will be the main route for general customs queries. The helpline operates via 0300 322 9434 and has webchat capability via

Opening hours

  • M-F 08.00-20.00 (from 14/12)
  • Sat 08.00-16.00 (from 2/1)
  • NB reduced hrs over festive period

· HMRC National Clearance Hub supports border movements. This will continue to operate 24/7 through the Christmas and New Year period. Contact details are: 0300 322 7900.

· HMRCBorders support for businesses that have questions around a specific consignment that is already live in transit. The email address is

· UKCA marking – or – Tel: 0121 345 1201 – Opening hours: Monday-Friday 8.00-18.00

· Tariffs – businesses are being directed to this

· NCCC helpdesk – chem reg queries, incl. IT queries relating to Comply With REACH – [details to follow – in the meantime, you will already have the details of the HSE REACH helpdesk – ]

Wishing you all a very happy festive period and all the very best for 2021

Many thanks to Heather, and we wish her a very Happy Christmas too.

The dramatic decline of chemical manufacturing in Europe

Hugh Roberts writes:

(As reported in Cefic facts and figures 2021) Europe’s share of the global chemicals market has halved in 20 years. If the trend continues Europe’s share of the global chemicals market will be 0% in about 2040. A great opportunity for DG Grow to reverse the decline of this primary industry, its support for other manufacturing sectors, its wealth creation and its role in employment.

As tools to enhance the competitiveness of the Europe’s chemicals industry, or even as taxation strategies, both REACH and CLP have not delivered.

The report is available at .

CLP regulations updated for Brexit

Many thanks again to Nicola Kaye who spotted that the CLP regulations (and others like PPP and Biocides) have been published (just too late for Friday’s newsletter): .

ECHA holiday closures

ECHA will be closed from 24 December 2020 to 3 January 2021. Our IT support & applications will remain open. Our contact forms will be monitored but resume normal operation on 4 January“.

If you need to do anything on the ECHA websites, particularly for UK-domiciled companies, such as taking copies of your REACH-IT data prior to Brexit, it may be sensible to do this as soon as possible.

Reasons to be cheerful

This week’s comedy clips are from The Vicar of Dibley, starting with Love and Marriage .

If you missed the final of Strictly Come Dancing on Saturday night, you can see it here: .

I also thought you might like some Christmas songs, and today’s is The Darkness “Don’t let the bells end” . Yes, it’s got a double entendre, yes it’s over the top, yes, it’s probably been written to boost their pensions, but if you hear it, it must be Christmas.

You may have also seen this doing the rounds on social media – “Do they know it’s Covid TIme” .

Many thanks to everyone who has contributed to the newsletter today. As usual, if you have anything you’d like to share, please email me and I’ll do my best to include it in the next newsletter.

If you’re working, I hope you manage to get through everything before the holidays.

​Kind regards,


Janet Greenwood

TT Environmental Ltd