Review of REACH
Technical workshop on the follow-up to the Review of REACH, 27 June 2013, Brussels - link to the event and the presentations
Conclusions of the review
The Commission has concluded that REACH functions well and delivers on all objectives that at present can be assessed. Some needs for adjustments have been identified, but balanced against the interest of ensuring legislative stability and predictability, the Commission will not propose any changes to the enacting terms of REACH.
Within the current framework, however, there is a need to reduce the impact of REACH on SMEs. The annex to the general report sets out measures that will contribute to this goal.
There are many other opportunities for further improvement of the functioning of REACH by optimizing the implementation at all levels. Some key findings and recommendations are:
- The report makes recommendations to improve REACH implementation. These include improving the quality of registration dossiers, encouraging companies to enhance the use of safety data sheets as a central risk management tool, and addressing issues related to the transparency of cost sharing within the Substance Information Exchange Forums (SIEFs).
- The report recommends reducing the financial and administrative burden on SMEs in order to ensure the proportionality of legislation and to assist them to fulfil all their REACH obligations. The Commission will look into greater fee reductions to SMEs.
- There are no major overlaps with other EU legislation.
- Considerable efforts to develop alternative methods to animal testing have been made and will continue: since 2007, the Commission has made available € 330 million to fund research in this area.
- Enforcement could be improved. As this is the responsibility of the Member States, the report recommends to Member States to reinforce coordination among them.
- Although the report identifies a need for some adjustments to the legislation, the Commission wants to ensure legislative stability and predictability for European businesses. No changes to REACH's main terms are proposed at present.
A press releaseand a more detailed press memowith key messages and conclusions have been issued to mark this occasion. At the same time, the Commission has published the results of a recent Eurobarometer survey on the public perception of chemicals.
As foreseen in article 138 of the Regulation and taking into account the Commission's right of initiative, the Commission may, if appropriate, present a legislative proposal based on the review outcomes and after considering all the expected socio-economic effects through a proper impact assessment process, bearing also in mind, among others, potential impacts on the next registration deadlines (2013 and 2018).
With regard to nanomaterials, the Commission will make an impact assessment of relevant regulatory options, in particular possible amendments of REACH Annexes, to ensure further clarity on how nanomaterials are addressed and safety demonstrated in registration dossiers. If appropriate, the Commission will come forward with a draft implementing act by December 2013.
The Commission will also follow up on the registration requirements for substances in tonnages between 1 and 10 tonnes and the impact of REACH on innovation and report back by January 2015.
In cooperation with Member States and ECHA, the Commission is developing a roadmap to assess and identify substances of very high concern (SVHC). It will set out clear milestones, deliverables and the division of work between the Commission, Member States and ECHA to place all relevant known SVHC on the candidate list by 2020.
The Commission will also look into greater fee reductions to SMEs to spread the financial impact of registration more evenly.
Study to monitor the impacts of the REACH Regulation on innovation, competitiveness and SMEs:
DG Enterprise and Industry has mandated a study to monitor the impacts of the REACH Regulation on innovation, competitiveness and SMEs to the ‘Centre for Strategy & Evaluation Services LLP’.
REACH is considered one of the most burdensome EU regulations for SMEs, despite the fact that not all of its provisions are yet applicable to a large number of companies who did not yet have to register their substances. It is believed that the next registration deadline in 2018 will be of most relevance to SMEs. As a follow-up to the REACH Review, DG Enterprise and Industry intends to monitor a range of factors identified below in order to identify the most relevant policy responses needed at the present stage of REACH implementation.
The monitoring objectives are:
- the impact of REACH on competitiveness and innovation;
- the quality and quantity of the support services provided by ECHA, Member States and industry associations;
- the situation of SMEs and their efforts to comply with the REACH Regulation;
- the preparedness of the industry ahead of the last registration deadline;
- the situation within downstream sectors, including the producers of articles.
The consultant will work with available statistical data, data collected in the context of other research projects, and primary data gathering through: random phone survey, invitation to participate in mass survey, interviews, focused extended surveys, in-depth case studies.
The final report is expected by April 2015.
Background and Scope
REACH has been in force for 5 years, and several important milestones in its implementation have already passed. The Commission launched a review which consisted of the legally required reviews and reports: (a) the review of ECHA (Article 75.2), (b) the review to assess whether or not to amend the scope of REACH in order to avoid overlaps with other EU legislation (Article 138.6), and (c) a general report from the experience acquired in the operation of the regulation (Article 117.4) including a review of the requirements relating to registration of low tonnage substances Article 138(3) and the information submitted by the Member States and ECHA in their respective reports on the operation of REACH (Art.117(1)(2)(3).
In addition, the review included a report on the first lessons learnt from the implementation of REACH with special attention to the costs and administrative burden on companies and impacts on innovation.
All of these reviews and reports are presented as a package, accompanied by a Chapeau Communication to give a complete overview.
To inform the review process, the Commission launched several thematic studies. They addressed the following issues which provided input to the Commission services during the review:
- The (nominal) risk caused by chemicals in 2012 compared to the 2007 (a follow-up of the baseline study of REACH)
- Review of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) based on Article 75 of Regulation (EC) N° 1907/2006
- REACH contribution to the development of emerging technologies
- Implementation and enforcement of restrictions in Member States
- Impact of the REACH regulation on the innovativeness of EU chemical industry
- Inspections requirements for REACH and CLP
- Functioning of the European chemical market after the introduction of REACH regulation
- Technical assistance related to the scope of REACH and other relevant EU legislation to assess overlaps
- Technical assistance to prepare the Commission report on operation of REACH
- Review of the registration requirements for 1 to 10 tonnes substances and polymers
- Assessment of health and environmental benefits of REACH
- Review of EU legislation (REACH) concerning nanotechnology
If you want to be kept informed about the launch of the registration for conferences or workshops, further consultation processes or surveys, or want to give feedback to the Report from the Commission or any of the above mentioned studies, please send an email to the following address, stating the study you are interested in: ENTR-ENV-REACH-REVIEW@EC.EUROPA.EU