UK Reach government decision expected in June

Author: Morgan Condon

2021/05/27

LONDON (ICIS)--UK chemicals industry officials are expecting the government to reach a decision on the nation’s post-Brexit regulations in June, the Chemical Business Association (CBA) said on Thursday.

Business groups have finished a series of meetings and discussions with the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to improve the workability and affordability of UK Reach.

Discussions centred on proposals outlined in a joint letter signed by 25 industry organisations in February suggesting alternative models for UK Reach, arguing that it needs to be adapted to suit the size of the UK’s market.

“We believe that it fundamentally threatens the competitiveness of UK manufacturing for chemical-based products. In its current form it is an almost identical version of EU REACH, which was designed for a market ten times the size of the UK and took ten years to implement,” the letter reads.

“All in all, this will hit UK industry hard across a range of manufacturing sectors, reduce the competitiveness of UK manufacturing, and lead to a loss of inward investment, as companies look outside the UK for their manufacturing hubs for Europe.”

Along with rightsizing the regulatory model, the letter urges a reduction of unnecessary red tape and increased support for cooperation between the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and the UK equivalent.

As well as the CBA – which supports small and medium-sized companies in the UK’s chemicals supply chain – meetings with the government were attended by representatives of the Chemical Industries Association (CIA) and British Coatings Federation (BCF).

A letter from charity CHEM Trust written on behalf of 26 UK public authorities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) outlined their 12 key requests for the UK’s new chemicals strategy concerning the safe handling of hazardous materials.

Front page picture source: Olivier Hoslet/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock