London, UK – The UK remains poorly prepared for maintaining chemical supply and safety post-Brexit, according to the House of Lords EU Energy and Environment sub-committee.
It said that the government’s response to its report, Brexit: chemical regulation, did not address all of its concerns, and a number of significant uncertainties and challenges remain. ‘Given the short timescales involved this, it is cause for serious concern,’ the committee said.
The report was published in November 2018. It warned that unless continued participation in EU chemicals regulation system Reach could be negotiated, UK companies will be unable to sell chemicals in the EU. Safety information available to UK users will also be incomplete.
Therese Coffey, minister in the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), has responded to the report. However, the committee says that although there is now a more credible approach from government, its overall response is ‘vague and insufficient’.
It also claims the government has failed to ensure UK chemical businesses can maintain EU market access after Brexit.
Neither has it ensured the replacement for the EU chemicals database will be ready; nor has it set out how chemical risk assessments will take place, said the committee.
‘It seems Brexit could leave us without a functioning and populated UK chemicals database; without an independent and transparent process for risk assessments; and, without access to the thousands of chemicals produced by EU-led companies,’ said Lord Teverson, chair of the sub-committee.
‘I hope the minister can provide further assurances… otherwise we risk a severe impact on the UK chemical and manufacturing industries, and potentially on human and environmental health.’
The committee has now written to Coffey, seeking further details on the government’s preparations. It wants a response by the end of January.