PIC – Prior informed consent

Regulation (EU) 649/2012 affects all European Union based companies involved in the export and import of certain hazardous chemicals to non-EU countries. It is commonly known as the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Regulation.

Its aim is to share information on hazardous chemicals, including how to store, transport, use and dispose of these chemicals safely.

The PIC Regulation requires exporters in EU Member States to notify their intention to export certain chemicals to countries outside the EU. In addition to the notification requirement, the export of some chemicals also requires the explicit consent of the importing country.

Detailed information and guidance on how to comply with the PIC Regulation can be found on the European Chemical Agency's website.

About Prior Informed Consent (PIC)

In 1999, the United Kingdom signed the Rotterdam Convention  on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure (PIC), which allows signatories to monitor and control the international trade of certain hazardous chemicals.

In the European Union, Regulation (EU) 649/2012 concerning the export and import of hazardous chemicals implements the Rotterdam Convention and is the latest in a series of such regulations on international chemicals trade dating back to 1992.

It promotes shared responsibility and co-operation and allows countries that are importing certain hazardous chemicals to specify conditions that the imported chemicals must meet.

It aims to protect human health and the environment by providing developing countries with information on how to store, transport, use and dispose of hazardous chemicals safely.

This regulation also includes chemicals from the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPS) the export of which is banned.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland (HSENI) are the Designated National Authorities for the UK. HSE provides information on Regulation (EU) 649/2012 on behalf of the UK Designated National Authorities.

What is the Designated National Authority?

Regulation (EU) 649/2012 requires that Member States designate an Authority to carry out the administrative functions of the regulation; and that has responsibility for controlling imports and exports of chemicals covered by the Regulation; and provide for appropriate sanctions in the event of infringements.

The Biocidal Products and Chemicals (Appointment of Authorities and Enforcement) Regulations 2013 establishes the Health and Safety Executive as the Designated National Authority for Great Britain.

Who enforces PIC in Great Britain?

Enforcement of PIC in Great Britain is carried out jointly by the Health and Safety Executive: HM Revenue and Customs and the Border Force.

What powers do enforcing authorities have?

The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the European Community Customs Code provide enforcing authorities with a range of tools to secure compliance with the law and to ensure a proportionate response to criminal offences.

Importing and exporting chemicals in to Great Britain

For businesses wanting to trade into GB from 1 January 2020 please see the HSE (GB) website:

HSE (GB)'s Helpdesk:

Exporting a PIC listed chemical from GB to NI

Notifying exports of PIC chemicals for 2022

HSE, the GB PIC Designated National Authority (DNA), is inviting companies to start submitting notifications for exports of chemicals in the GB PIC List that are expected to take place during 2022.

The GB PIC Regulation requires the first export of a listed chemical in any calendar year to any country to be notified to the DNA at least 35 days before the intended date of export. Export includes the movement of a listed chemical from GB to NI.

Early notification ensures HSE has sufficient time to process notifications and seek the explicit consent of the importing country, where required, or to consider evidence for the granting of a waiver where there is no response to repeated requests for consent.

What you need to do

Export notifications:

  • the GB PIC export notification form is available on HSE's website, where you can find further information and supporting guidance for completing the form. Please send completed forms to ukdna@hse.gov.uk
  • to avoid delays in processing export notifications, please include the following details in the subject line of your email: 
    • GB PIC - notification - company name - chemical/mixture - importing country name - 2022 
  • when submitting your export notifications, attach one form and accompanying safety data sheet (SDS) per email, in addition to an SDS in English, please provide an SDS in the official language of the importing country, if available, or in one of its principal languages. If you do not attach an SDS, sections 4 and 5 of the form become mandatory
  • some countries have more than one DNA - to ensure HSE sends your notification to the relevant authority in the destination country, please be as accurate as possible in describing the foreseen use in the importing country (section 3.3 of the export notification form), this will also be helpful to the importing DNA when making decisions on consent, where applicable
  • if you are intending to export a number of mixtures containing a chemical in the GB PIC List to the same importing country, where those mixtures differ only, for example, by colour and there are no differences in their classification and labelling or intended use, we can accept a single notification covering several mixtures, whenever changes in the concentration of PIC chemical(s) in a mixture trigger new labelling requirements, a new notification will be required

Special RINS:

  • you can also start to submit Special RIN requests for 2022 using the relevant form, Special RINs are required for PIC chemicals exported for the purpose of research or analysis in quantities of 10 kgs or less per exporter, per year and per importing country and so are otherwise exempt from the requirements of the Regulation. A Special RIN is also required where an importing country has waived its right to receive an export notification and has notified a positive import response under the Rotterdam Convention for the chemical being exported
  • please send completed forms to ukdna@hse.gov.uk and include the following details in the subject line of your email: 
    • GB PIC – Special RIN request - company name – chemical/mixture – importing country name – 2022

For exports of PIC chemicals to the EU, each Special RIN covers exports of up to 10kg of the substance for research and analysis purposes to each EU importing country.

Prior Informed Consent - Waivers

If you are a NI-based company planning to export a chemical listed in Part 2 or 3 of Annex I to the PIC Regulation, the importing country where you intend to export needs to give their consent before you can export the chemical. If the importing country does not respond to your designated national authority’s request for explicit consent, you may propose a waiver to the explicit consent requirement.

A new factsheet on waivers that can be found at the following link:

Keep up to date

If you want to keep up to date with news in relation to chemicals in the UK or any other subjects, please register on the HSE (GB) website at the following link:

During registration you can select which topics are relevant to you, such as REACH, Chemicals, Biocides, PIC and many others.

Resources

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Related to PIC – Prior informed consent

Most recent publications

RIDDOR (NI) 97 booklet

25 February 2011

Access to information

How to request information from the Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland including Freedom of Information (FOI) and the use of our Publication Scheme.