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Chemical Regulation and Brexit Advisory Forum

April 3rd, 2018

Peter Fisk recently participated in a meeting of the Chemical Regulation and Brexit Advisory Forum, organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). The meeting gathered insights from RSC members involved in regulatory affairs concerning the changes resulting from the UK leaving the EU. The RSC participates in many important bodies such as the Chemicals Stakeholder Forum.

The wider context is the UK Government’s wish to develop a 25-year plan to improve the environment, which covers a whole range of criteria. The meeting expressed the need to clearly define terms such as ‘the Precautionary Principle’. There was a strong sense that the government should adhere to risk-based approaches over hazard-based ones.

Those present at the meeting saw it as essential that there be mutual recognition of data and registrations between the future EU and the UK. Delegates also believed there is an opportunity for the UK government to find ways to help industry comply with REACH more easily. There is also the chance for more avoidance of animal testing than  seems to be at present.

The meeting discussed how to address the shortage of experienced staff in the government and its agencies. Integrated methods could achieve efficiencies in industry compliance with legislation once fully transposed into UK law. Such regulations include REACH, the Water Framework Directive, and the Industrial Emissions Directive.

Finally, delegates stressed that REACH is a barrier to innovation. However, it may provide new opportunities as and when older substances are controlled more strongly. In the wake of Brexit there is an opportunity to “comply, but better”.