Ministers challenged on unresolved chemicals concerns
12 October 2020
The EU Environment Sub-Committee writes to the Environment and Business Secretaries of State highlighting its concerns about the Government’s plan for chemical regulation from 1 January next year.
- Letter from the Chair of the EU Environment Sub-Committee to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, 12 October 2020
- Chemicals Regulation Post-Brexit
- EU Environment Sub-Committee
The use of chemicals in the UK is currently regulated through the EU’s REACH system, and by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). From 1 January 2020, REACH will be replaced by a UK system, and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will take over from ECHA.
On 7 October the Committee heard from a panel of witnesses about the practical challenges and high costs of submitting chemicals safety information to the UK system, and the impact this could have on small companies. They heard how crucial a data-sharing agreement with the EU is to protect UK consumers and the environment. And they heard about the difficulties the HSE will face in recruiting the staff it needs to take on its new role.
The Committee has concluded that in the absence of a data-sharing agreement, there could be less effective, more expensive products on UK shelves, or less manufacturing in the UK and reduced choice for consumers. New thinking is required from the Government to ensure the UK regime will regulate chemicals effectively without placing excessive burdens on industry.
They have asked Ministers from Defra and BEIS to join them for a public evidence session to discuss what assurances can be provided for the public and businesses.