31 January 2006 16:00 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS news)--The European Commission (EC) needs to push ahead more strongly with various implementation projects tied to the Reach chemicals legislation a commission spokesman admitted on Tuesday. He cautioned industry also, however, to be prepared to work under the new rules.
“Reach is coming in by the end of the year,” Mark Blainey of the environment directorate general in the Commission told a London conference.
The new regulation is currently being re-drafted by the EC before a second reading in the European Parliament and expected acceptance by the Europe’s Council of Ministers later in the year.
“It [Reach] will come quicker than you think; now is the time to start to prepare,” Blainey added.
The EC has seven specific Reach implementation projects that will be extended with the help industry and the EU member states and their so-called ‘competent authorities’ once Reach comes in to force. Reach is expected to pass into law early in 2007.
Of particular concern at present are the projects to do with the development of IT (information technology) systems that will handle Reach data and the establishment of the new European Chemicals Agency based in Finland, Blainey indicated.
The Agency is expected to coordinate Reach registrations and evaluations although its full remit and its powers as regards product authorisations have yet to be fully determined.
Blainey suggested that there had been good correlation between the positions of the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers towards the end of last year as key aspects of the Regulation were in principle agreed.
He suggested that full agreement on the new law would not have to go to conciliation – the process whereby insurmountable disagreements between parliament and the council of ministers are reconciled – but that a deal would be struck around the time of the second reading of Reach in parliament.
Agreement has yet not been reached on registration in the 10 to 100 tonne category and on the authorisation process.
Blainey said that under the current timetable, the chemicals agency would be established within the first 12 months of Reach passing into law followed by a period of pre-registration and registration.
Reach may ultimately cover more than 30,000 substances. A three year deadline will be put in place for registration of chemicals produced in quantities of more than 1,000 tonne a year; chemicals that might harm the human reproductive system or are known to carcinogenic or mutagenic (CMR) produced in quantities of more than 1 tonne a year; and persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT), and very persistent very bioaccumulative (vPvB) chemicals produced in quantities of more than 100 tonne a year.
By the current timetable, substances produced in the band 100-1,000 tonne a year need to be registered after six years and notification of the production of substances of ‘very high concern’ received. Substances produced in quantities from one to 100 tonne a year are expected to be registered within 11 years.
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