[ID] => 10461
[post_author] => 34
[post_date] => 2019-01-09 08:56:02
[post_date_gmt] => 2019-01-09 08:56:02
[post_content] => The UK’s Chemical Business Association (CBA) is alarmed at the UK government’s expectation that, in the event of a ‘no deal’ exit from the EU, the structure of the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation can be simply transposed in full into UK law.
“We made our views clear to the Environment Minister, Thérèse Coffey, before the Christmas break,” says Peter Newport, CBA’s chief executive. “The Minister has confirmed that the government intends to stick to its ‘no deal’ plan for UK REACH.”
The issue, put simply, is that the UK government appears to misunderstand the ways in which the chemical industry currently deals with compliance with REACH. As a result, Newport says, “The current proposals will damage the chemical supply sector and the many downstream UK manufacturing industries relying on chemicals for their products and processes.”
CBA’s view is that, if the UK leaves the EU without an agreement, the only way that these adverse consequences can be avoided is in the negotiation of an Associate Membership of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), the EU body that administers REACH and related regulations, or some other arrangement that guarantees continued regulatory compliance by UK companies with the EU regime. Only such an arrangement will allow continued access to European markets for UK-based manufacturers.
As it stands, UK industry looks set to lose frictionless access to EU markets, which in 2017 accounted for 60 per cent of UK chemical exports.
HOW IT WORKS
“The chemical sector’s regulatory framework has a distinctive relationship with trade. Regulatory compliance is the key to market access. In this case, the EU alone determines the nature and extent of the compliance required,” Newport explains. “Compliance with EU requirements is non-negotiable. Failure to comply is a barrier to EU 27 market access. Without market access there can be no trade.”
If REACH is to be transposed in full into UK law, there will be a need to create a database of registered chemicals similar to that already currently held by ECHA. This will require access to the chemical testing data used to support the registration of substances under REACH.
“In meetings with Ministers and officials, CBA has pointed out that many UK companies do not own or have access to this data,” Newport points out. “They pay a fee to its owner(s) for Letters of Access generating an electronic token that enables the company to rely on the data set held by ECHA. Letters of Access only provide REACH compliance for EU markets.”
Test data is owned by one or more companies, not by ECHA and not necessarily by UK businesses. Most is owned by consortia of European companies, which may sell copies of test data to a business in a third country, but this would be their commercial decision.
If existing test data is unavailable, or permission for its use for UK REACH cannot be secured, then a significant amount of animal testing would be required to recreate acceptable standards of data. Alternative forms of testing may be appropriate in some cases, but higher levels of animal testing should be anticipated.
On top of that, the cost to UK industry of establishing a ‘UK REACH’ would be unsustainable. UK firms currently hold more than 12,000 REACH registrations covering almost 6,000 chemical substances. The registration fees and data-sharing contributions funding the EU REACH process already total many millions of pounds. Yet, in recent meetings, Ministers appear indifferent to the further substantial costs faced by chemical firms as a consequence of establishing UK REACH. “Business cannot sustain the additional costs implicit in the Government’s proposals,” Newport says.
Further, the UK government has set a two-year target for the UK REACH entity to be set up and to acquire all the relevant testing data. “This timescale is unrealistic,” Newport insists. “The EU’s REACH regime took ten years to implement.”
[post_title] => REACH: Brexit's epic fail
[post_status] => publish
[comment_status] => open
[ping_status] => open
[post_name] => reach-brexits-epic-fail
[post_modified] => 2019-01-09 08:56:02
[post_modified_gmt] => 2019-01-09 08:56:02
[post_parent] => 0
[guid] => https://www.hcblive.com/?p=10461
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REACH: Brexit’s epic fail
As the potential for a 'no deal' Brexit becomes ever more plausible, plans to replicate the EU's REACH structure are simply unworkable, CBA says