02 October 2005 19:11 [Source: ICIS news]
NICE, France (ICIS news)--The European chemical industry has to step up its activity in engaging with Europe’s Council of Ministers, and through member states at the national level, to clearly represent its position on Reach, its head said at the weekend
Cefic, president Peter Elverding, said the trade federation needed to work harder to get its position across on the European Union’s proposed new chemicals policy, Reach.
The influential European Parliament (EP) environment committee will discusse amendments to the current Reach draft at its meeting this week. The legislative draft is expected to go before parliament in November and be discussed in the European Council in December.
“There is still work to be done to improve the workability and effectiveness of the current proposals,” Elverding said at the Cefic general assembly. “The objectives of Reach are as valid as ever (but) we need a system based on prioritisation according to possible risks and different uses. We need proportionate requirements in registration in the supply chain.”
UK science minister, Lord Sainsbury of Turville, told the assembly that the revised Reach draft prepared by the UK presidency would allay many of the industry’s fears in that it had streamlined the proposals and made them “more workable”.
However, he said it was unlikely that the legislations would not be volume-based, rather than entirely risk-based, a key issue for chemical producers. The industry had sought greater prioritisation in the registration phase of the proposed legislation (Reach stands for registration, evaluation and authorisation of chemicals). The UK proposals had developed the “one substance, one registration” concept, he added.
Speaking of the UK presidency draft, he said: “Our intention was not to ‘water down’ Reach, but rather to improve it.” But he said there remained scope for further improvements.
Cefic board member, Mathieu Vrijsen, who is also head of DuPont in Europe, said the industry saw some good in the UK proposal but “no significant change.“What we fear is that by including the views of all member states we will bring it [Reach] to the lowest common denominator. We want to have a risk-based rather than a tonnage-based approach.”
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