27 May 2009 15:05 [Source: ICIS news]
By Will Beacham
HELSINKI (ICIS news)--Uncooperative or inappropriate leaders of the forums set up to start the information exchange process for Europe’s chemical regulation, Reach, can be thrown out and replaced, the implementing authority said on Wednesday.
There has been growing concern that large numbers of consultants or service-providers have registered themselves as the facilitators responsible for organising the formation of Substance Information Exchange Forums (SIEFs), the groups being formed for the submission of information to comply with the registration part of Reach.
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), which implements Reach, has now put systems in place to force facilitators to cooperate with other potential SIEF members, or force them to withdraw and be replaced.
“In some cases pre-SIEFs are not functioning well as people have seen it as a business opportunity - we had not anticipated this. They have been blocking progress by contacting other people saying they must pay before they can become active,” ECHA’s executive director Geert Dancet told ICIS news on the sidelines of the agency's Second Stakeholder Day.
He said some facilitators were trying to force pre-SIEF members to pay for and use Reach implementation tools which they had developed.
The ECHA has approached several of these facilitators and, so far, four have withdrawn. “Facilitators should be genuine potential registrants. If they refuse to cooperate [we encourage] other members of the pre-SIEF to communicate with each other and form a new SIEF,” said Dancet.
He stressed the need to document any moves to replace facilitators: “You must document why the facilitator is not doing his job and ensure they open up a dialogue with everybody else.
“The industry must tell us if there are more of these cases. They can also work with each other as we have now given enough guidance on how to work around [this problem],” he added.
Antony Wilson, head of registration at ECHA, added: “There have been some problems with pre-SIEF facilitators as it is a voluntary role, not covered by legislation. If it isn’t working we would invite them to deliver or leave. Groups can set a deadline and then ask them to give up the role [if they don’t cooperate]."
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