Select Committee on European Union Thirteenth Report


Sub-Committee D's Call for evidence

Sub­Committee D (Environment, Agriculture, Public Health and Consumer Protection) of the House of Lords European Union Committee is conducting an inquiry into the European Commission's White Paper "Strategy for a future Chemicals Policy" (COM(2001)88 final). The inquiry will be chaired by the Rt Hon Lord Crickhowell. (The Chairman of the Sub­Committee, the Earl of Selborne, has decided that it would be inappropriate for him to chair the inquiry in view of his position as Chairman of the UK Chemicals Stakeholder Forum). Mr Nigel Haigh has been appointed Specialist Adviser to the inquiry.

The Sub­Committee invites evidence on the White Paper's proposals generally and with reference to the aspects which give rise to particular concern to different interest groups. The following questions may be helpful as an aide-mémoire, but they are not exhaustive, nor are they intended to dictate a framework for responses.

  1. What are the main differences between Commission's proposals and the approach of the UK Government's Chemicals Strategy (1999)?
  2. How strong is the case for having a single regime for dealing with new and existing chemicals?
  3. Are the proposed procedures for testing of chemicals justified and proportionate?
  4. Are the overall timescale and deadlines for registration of chemicals realistic?
  5. What are the implications for animal testing?
  6. Should a requirement to conduct life-cycle risk assessment of the use of chemicals form part of the strategy, or should it be addressed separately?
  7. How effectively will the proposed authorisation procedures meet the objectives of the strategy?
  8. What balance of effort and responsibilities should be struck between the Commission and Member States under the proposed Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation (REACH) regime?
  9. Where will the costs of implementation principally fall? Has there been a realistic assessment of the likely costs to industry and regulatory authorities in the Member States?
  10. Have the responsibilities of downstream users been adequately addressed?
  11. Do the proposals meet the needs for transparency and public access to information?
  12. How far should the strategy be concerned with providing safeguards in relation to chemicals (especially imported chemicals) as constituents of finished products, or are these requirements dealt with adequately in other Community legislation?
  13. What are the implications for enforcement?
  14. What criteria, methodology and administrative systems are appropriate for identifying chemicals, particularly existing chemicals, of highest concern and for setting priorities for action?
  15. What lessons can be learnt from overseas experience?

The inquiry will generally keep within the scope of the White Paper and will not, for instance, be directly concerned with controls on emissions of chemicals to the environment (including disposal of chemical wastes) or with chemicals which are covered by positive approval procedures (pesticides, biocides and human and veterinary medicines), except to the extent that the proposals of the White Paper may have implications for such separate regimes.

Evidence on animal testing should be consistent with any submissions to the House of Lords Select Committee on Animals in Scientific Procedures.

5 April 2001

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