If you manufacture, import or distribute electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) for the UK market, you are responsible for ensuring that the levels of certain hazardous chemicals and substances are not exceeded.
Read a list of controlled substances and find out how to comply with the rules. This guide explains how to request a new exemption for the use of a restricted substance provided it meets certain criteria.
Check the exemption criteria
You may be granted an exemption if the use of the controlled substance is listed in the exemption criteria from tables 1 and 2 of the regulation and one or more of the following applies:
Defra may also consider:
- negative socio-economic impacts of a substitute
- availability of a substitute (for example, if alternatives can be produced and delivered within a reasonable timeframe for the substance in question)
- life cycle analysis on the impacts of the exemption
- impacts on innovation
You must provide evidence relating to more than one criterion. Meeting a criterion does not guarantee that you will benefit from an exemption.
Defra will decide whether the exemption should be granted and what conditions will apply.
Research and prepare to apply
You will need to research and provide documents when you apply for an exemption.
You must include:
- the results of the tests on the suitability of the substitutes and any other technical and scientific documentation to support your claim – if possible and available, these documents should be certified by a third party
- a life cycle analysis carried out in accordance with ISO 14040, ISO 14044, including an analysis of the carbon footprint of the product and the cost-benefit – if possible and available, these documents should be certified by a third party
- roadmaps for the further technical development of RoHS alternative applications compliant with regulations
- TO REACH– relevant documents such as registrations or authorization requests
- supplier documents on the availability or unavailability of substitutes
- socio-economic data as detailed as possible – if possible and available, these documents should be certified by a third party
If you are requesting a new exemption, you must apply for it no later than 18 months before the substance for which you are requesting an exemption falls within the scope of the RoHS regulations.
If you apply for a substance that is not yet restricted, your exemption (and the period for which it is valid) will start on the day the substance is restricted and under regulation.
You must apply for the renewal of an exemption at least 18 months before the exemption expires. Consider how much time you will need to adapt production processes to the use of substitutes if your exemption is not approved. This will prevent you from withdrawing products from the market or postponing the distribution of a new application on the FR Marlet.
Request an exemption
Fill out an exemption request form with the prepared documents and send it to [email protected] or:
RoHS Policy Manager
Ministry of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
2 Marsham Street
London SW1P 4DF
Defra may contact you with questions regarding your application.
Confidential documents cannot be used as official information in support of an exemption request. If possible, you should not include it.
If you must include it, you must:
- specify which parts are confidential
- submit confidential and non-confidential documents in separate documents, if possible
After your application
- write to you to let you know that they have received your request within one month.
- make a summary of your request available to the public
- assess the request and its justification
Defra will assess your application by:
- verify that your application is complete with the correct documents and includes contact details
- carry out an initial technical and scientific assessment, in particular by verifying the reasons for the request and the validity of the information provided
- prepare a list of questions to contact you with, if necessary
- publish the final information submitted for an online stakeholder consultation (minimum 8 weeks) to collect additional data and information and to inform stakeholders of the application
- assess the results of the consultation and the results of the rounds of supplementary questions from the applicant and other stakeholders
- publish a summary of the responses to the consultation and a ministerial decision on whether or not to accept the request
A statutory instrument will be tabled in parliament to amend the RoHS regulations and make the necessary changes to legislation.
Your exemption will be valid for:
- 5 years from the date of entry into force of the exemption or renewal, for an exemption relating to EEE in category 1 to 7, 10 or 11
- 7 years from the date of entry into force of the exemption or renewal, for an exemption relating to EEE in category 8 or 9
Consult the categories of EEE.
Renew an exemption
You can request a renewal of an exemption if you still meet the exemption criteria.
You must apply at least 18 months before the exemption expires. Defra will make a decision on the request no later than 6 months before the expiry date of the existing exemption, unless special circumstances justify other time limits. The existing exemption remains valid until Defra makes a decision.
If an exemption renewal has been rejected or removed, it will expire between 12 and 18 months after the date of the decision. This gives stakeholders a transition period so that they can take appropriate action.
Complete an exemption request form to renew an exemption.
Modify an exemption
You can request a modification of an exemption.
Check how long your exemption is valid for and if there are any clauses – you may not be able to change the wording of an existing exemption.
Complete an exemption request form to modify an exemption.
Remove an exemption
You can request that an exemption be removed if you, or the company that holds the exemption, can no longer meet the conditions. For example, you can ask this if you have developed, or represent a developer, possible substitutes for a currently exempt use.
Complete an exemption request form to remove an exemption.
You can immediately request the removal of an exemption as long as the substitutes are ready and approved for use in applications if approved.
It can take up to 18 months to review and make a decision. If it takes less than 18 months, an additional 12-18 months will be given as a transition period for manufacturers to update production lines to use the applicable substitutes.