BCF calls for greater urgency on REACH impasse, warning of irreparable damage to UK manufacturing

31 May 2023
  • The British Coatings Federation is engaging with Government and other stakeholders but progress is not forthcoming
  • Cost to UK industry of new registration regime could be £3bn
  • Work carried out over last year leaves serious concerns over direction being taken

The British Coatings Federation (BCF) has called for a “reset” in the development of a UK REACH system that supports UK businesses amid growing concern that a workable solution remains a long way off.

Speaking at the BCF’s Annual Conference, held on Thursday 25th May, Chief Executive Tom Bowtell said:

“After years of back and forth, it is becoming increasingly clear that the Government’s plan for establishing a UK REACH regime is not going to be successful as industry requires. We welcome the current pause applied to the REACH registration deadlines but work on an Alternative Registration Model also seems not to be addressing many of the concerns that led to that pause in the first place.

“The Government knows that a sub-optimal application of UK REACH could cost UK industry billions of pounds but we are not currently seeing the application and creativity required to find a solution that works. The ongoing uncertainty is bad for business planning and investment and yet we are no nearer a position of clarity.

“There is time to get the right solution for the UK coatings industry but to achieve that outcome we believe there needs to be a fundamental shift in approach and a reset of the process. We are committed to upholding high standards of environmental and human health and safety while also aiming for a manageable and efficient regulatory set up that supports – rather than suppresses – business. If genuine progress is not realised quickly, there is the risk of irreparable damage, not just to the UK chemicals sector but to downstream users and formulators of chemicals, like those in the coatings sector, who have to use thousands of different substances in their products, as well as to UK manufacturing more widely.

“BCF looks forward to continuing to engage with Defra towards initiating that reset and finding a workable solution to the UK REACH problem.”

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