Reach: UK grants some extensions to consultation deadline
28 June 2004 17:10 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (CNI)--The UK’s Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) confirmed to CNI on Monday that it has granted some respondents extensions to a 25 June deadline for responses to its consultation period on the European Union’s Reach (registration, evaluation and authorisation of chemicals) proposals. However, Defra has granted a blanket extension and insists that the consultation period is now over.
Defra said it had received more than 100 submissions to the Reach consultation from a wide range of stakeholders including industry, NGOs (non-governmental organisations), green groups and individuals. Some 315 organisations were consulted.
The ?xml:namespace>UK government had sought further comment on the EU’s plans to introduce the Reach system and its likely impact down the chain of chemicals supply and use.
Reach is currently in the committee stage of a co-decision process in the EU Parliament and the Council of Ministers. The UK government’s position is at odds with the EC’s on a key aspect of the policy – the setting up of consortia to initially register substances. Britain would like to see this process simplified and is promoting a ‘one substance, one registration’ approach. It also questions various aspects of Reach effectiveness and wants the planned European Chemicals Agency (ECA) to have greater powers.
CNI reported last week (24 June) that the consultation period would be extended for some. It also revealed key aspects of the submissions from the NGO Greenpeace and the UK’s Chemical Industries Association (CIA).
In a statement issued today, the CIA highlighted its major Reach concerns: "We remain committed to working with UK government and other stakeholders to develop joint proposals on how to improve key aspects of the legislation, particularly in relation to workability," said the association’s director - business environment, Steve Elliott.
However, the CIA said it wanted the legislation designed to be proportionate, workable and effective in improving human and environmental health.
The CIA’s response highlighted specific issues which, it said, need to be addressed.
That the proposed review process is strengthened so that a mechanism for improving Reach based on practical experience is built into the legislation from the start.
That the proposed review provided an opportunity to review all aspects of the workability of Reach and make recommendations for further improvement. In some cases this may mean reducing obligations that have proved particularly difficult to work with in practice, but might also mean increasing some obligations if justified on the basis of practical experience.
The CIA said it strongly recommended that the scope and requirements of Reach should be kept to the workable minimum necessary to meet the overall aims of the legislation. In particular, it stressed the importance of 'intelligent testing', whereby registrants need generate only the information that is clearly necessary to safeguard people and the environment, in the context of the chemical concerned.
One way of way of promoting intelligent testing would be for the central agency to have strong powers and sufficient skilled resources to over-ride any tendency by a competent authority to adopt a 'tick-box' approach, the CIA added. A strong central agency would also act as a mechanism to ensure uniformity, consistency and a level-playing field across the EU, it continued.
The CIA said it supported the principle of 'one substance, one registration' (as proposed by the UK
government in its suggestions for compulsory consortia to speed the registration process) and would be happy to help develop a flexible approach to such a regime. It said it believes the sharing of 'core' animal data should be obligatory, but that any mechanism to achieve a single registration must take full account of the fact that co-suppliers may have little in common and may expose commercially-sensitive information.
It strongly supported the idea of a broader investigation into the impacts of Reach, in particular the treatment of substances in finished products.
The CIA said that failure to address the latter issues would leave future questions over the competitiveness of the EU industry and fail to deliver the Reach objectives.By: Nigel Davis+44 20 8652 3214
For the latest chemical news, data and analysis that directly impacts your business sign up for a free trial
to ICIS news - the breaking online news service for the global chemical industry.
Get the facts and analysis behind the headlines from our market leading weekly magazine: sign up to a free
trial to ICIS Chemical Business.