UK REACH: Process Stalled

Companies that trade with Great Britain still do not know the scope of the substance data they will be required to provide in the future or the costs they will incur.

The Environmental Ministry estimates costs for industry of about £2 billion (around 2.34 billion euros) for the current registration model. In a speech before the House of Lords on June 13, Baron Benyon, the Secretary of State in the Ministry for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) acknowledged that the estimate is quite uncertain. More clarity on the costs would become available, he said, when the final registration model was defined.

In fact, the government, industry, and non-governmental organizations are still arguing about the right model. The British Coatings Federation, for example calls for adoption of the Swiss model, according to which the regulations would be aligned with EU risk management decisions, although exceptions would be permitted in certain situations. The plus side of this model is that it could spare companies from having to reregister their chemicals and save costs.

In his address, Benyon assured his audience that both the British Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and registrants would have access to the data on chemicals registered in the EU. He also stated that EU importers would receive safety data sheets that conform to EU regulations from their suppliers.

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