EEF responded formally to DEFRA’s consultation on the enforcement of REACH. REACH has implications for the vast majority of manufacturers so effective enforcement of this large and complex piece of legislation was a significant concern.
In response to government we agreed that, in line with recommendations put forward in Philip Hampton’s 2005 report, the government should aim to enforce REACH in ways that minimise the administrative burden of compliance for both businesses and public authorities. We broadly supported the government’s decision therefore to extend responsibility for REACH enforcement to existing regulators within the range of their current functions.
However, we did express our reservations about how consistent the enforcement of REACH will be achieved within, and between, regulatory bodies. Experience has shown that regional inspectors can take differing approaches to enforcement. It is possible that this factor could be further exaggerated amongst enforcement authorities.
We have encouraged government to establish a key stakeholder committee between representatives from the enforcing authorities and industry associations. This would provide an opportunity to cite, firsthand, any inconsistencies in approach between enforcing authorities, as well as good practices, and opportunities for improvement going forward. EEF has already established itself as a major stakeholder on REACH and will seek representation on this committee.