Pow promises ‘gold standards’ on chemicals regulation as fears over impact of UK-REACH delays grow

2022-12-01

Environment minister Rebecca Pow has promised “the same gold standards as we’ve had in the EU” on chemicals regulation, after hearing concerns that further extensions to the UK’s timeline for transitioning to a new model of regulation post-Brexit will see a weakening of environmental protections.

Pow addressed the Environmental Audit Committee on Wednesday with an update on the progress of UK Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals (REACH), which officials noted has been slow.

After leaving the EU, all substances manufactured in or imported to England, Scotland and Wales must be registered with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which is the agency for UK REACH. Applications registered while the UK was still in the EU were “grandfathered” under transitional provisions.

The deadline for registration data to be submitted to UK REACH was extended last year by former environment secretary George Eustice following industry pressure. This deadline is now set to be extended again by three years across the board.

Pow told EAC: “No-one is pretending that this has not been a complicated issue to tackle. I believe really positive progress has been made.”

Pow highlighted that so far 6,000 companies have completed their initial notifications, which covers 22,000 chemicals, and now the next stage is getting their data packages about these chemicals registered.

Pow also stressed that the overarching aim is the “same gold standards as we’ve had in the EU”, emphasising that this is the “highest level of protection for human health and for the environment”.

“That hasn’t changed at all, it remains an absolute priority, and similarly the principles remain the same. No data, no market,” she said.

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ENDS, 01-12-22
; https://www.endsreport.com/article/1806913/pow-promises-gold-standards-chemicals-regulation-fears-impact-uk-reach-delays-grow