Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) Chairman, Philip Dunne MP has voiced concerns that the decision to suspend work on the Chemicals Strategy, which outlines chemical registrations post-Brexit, could disrupt chemical availability once the Brexit transition period comes to an end.
While this would not directly impact the ag-chem industry, it could affect co-formulants used in plant protection products (PPPs) or other chemicals such as pheromones, says Hazel Doonan, head of crop protection at the Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC).
Ms Doonan says AIC members were alert to the potential additional cost and impacts of having to register chemicals under UK REACH for EU-based chemical manufacturers exporting to the UK, although she has not picked up any specific issues.
She said: “This would be the case if the UK market was not a particularly high volume to recoup the costs of registration and could impact the co-formulants used in PPPs or other chemicals such as pheromones used in pheromone traps for example.
“This could then mean some PPPs having to be reformulated and/or increased costs for UK based manufacturers.”
In a letter to DEFRA secretary of state, George Eustice, Mr Dunne said delays caused by Covid-19 were regrettable given the future regulatory framework for chemicals has been sought as a matter of urgency by the Committee since sessions held in 2016-17, in which the chemical industry said there was a lack of clarity surrounding practical regulatory steps that would be put in place once the transition period ends to enable the import and export of chemicals.
Mr Dunne said: “The Committee is concerned that ongoing uncertainty for the sector could damage access to vital chemicals for business following the transition period.”