16 October 2008 17:16 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS news)--The EU’s Reach pre-registration period should be extended by six weeks beyond the end of November because of persistent IT problems underpinning the scheme, the UK-based Chemical Business Association (CBA) said on Thursday.
IT problems have beset the Reach (registration, evaluation and authorisation of chemicals) scheme pre-registration period since it began in June.
“The REACH IT process for bulk pre-registrations was six weeks late in becoming available, a factor which has significantly reduced the six month pre-registration period available to industry,” the CBA said in a statement.
“Since then there have been intermittent problems with the system ‘timing out’ registrants. Currently, the processing time for bulk pre-registrations is taking several days with error messages taking anything up to eight hours to arrive,” it added.
The delays to bulk pre-registrations are causing frustration throughout industry but the EuropeanChemicals Agency (ECHA) is known to be working hard to resolve the IT difficulties.
However, CBA chairman Melvyn White said the situation required an urgent solution.
“In the worst case, substances which are not pre-registered by 1 December 2008 will have to be removed from the market until the full Reach registration process can be completed,” he said.
“This could result in a major disruption in the operation of the chemical supply chain and impact the European economy in already uncertain times,” he added.
According to Erwin Annys, Reach director with European chemicals trade federation Cefic, “the REACH IT system is working that much slower than before, but still the same number of pre-registrations take place.”
Confirmation of the pre-registration or an error message can be expected within six to eight hours, he added, as the system works through data and virus checks.
The pre-registration period, however, is set out in the legal text of the Reach legislation and it would take agreement between the European Commission, the European Parliament and Europe’s Council of Ministers (representatives of the 27 member states) to make changes, he stressed.
The CBA is calling on the European Commission to adopt a more flexible view of the pre-registration period and extend it by six weeks - the period that was lost to industry at the outset of the six-month period, said Whyte.
The CBA represents UK chemicals distributors, traders, transport and logistics companies.
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