CHEM Trust is a charity working at the UK, EU and International level.
Here is a selection of the work we do within the UK; you can get the latest news on our UK work by looking at all the blogs posts tagged with ‘UK’.
Participating in the UK Government’s Chemicals Stakeholder Forum
The UK Chemicals Stakeholder Forum (UKCSF) advises the UK government on managing risks to the environment and to human health via the environment that may result from the production, distribution and use of chemicals. It has an independent chair, and representatives of different stakeholder groups, including CHEM Trust.
The forum meets quarterly, and the most frequent participant from CHEM Trust is our Head of Advocacy, Dr Anna Watson – who also sits on the steering group for the forum. In addition to participating in the meetings, we have also taken part in subgroups and submitted papers for discussion.
Our team has been involved in the stakeholder forum since it started back in October 2000.
CHEM Trust is an Accredited Stakeholder in UK REACH, with regular status.
Talking to the UK Government
In addition to the Chemicals Stakeholder Forum, we also have other meetings with officials and ministers in various departments and agencies, including the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the Department of Health and Social Care. Some of these meetings are jointly attended with other UK NGOs.
UK Chemical Strategy
The UK Government has promised a new Chemicals Strategy to set out its approach for managing chemicals, following the UK’s departure from the EU. The Government and devolved administrations are in the process of developing a strategy that will set out immediate priorities, with a public consultation expected in late 2021.
In May 2021, CHEM Trust wrote to the UK Government, alongside 26 UK public health and environmental NGOs, to outline 12 Key Asks that must be prioritised in the UK’s new chemical strategy. If implemented, these asks would provide strong protection from hazardous chemicals for people, wildlife, and the environment.
The 12 Key Asks highlight a range of actions that need to be implemented:
- Apply the precautionary principle;
- Phase out the most hazardous chemicals from consumer products, for all non-essential uses;
- A plan to address endocrine disrupting chemicals including timelines to phase them out;
- Phase out the use of PFAS and other very persistent chemicals;
- Speed up regulation of harmful chemicals and avoid regrettable substitution by adopting a grouping approach;
- Address the combined exposure to chemicals – the ‘cocktail effect’;
- Maintain and expand on workers’ health and safety;
- Ensure a clean circular economy with products that are safe by design;
- Develop an effective monitoring and alert system;
- Stop the continued accumulation of legacy chemicals in the environment;
- Remain aligned with the world-leading chemical regulation EU REACH;
- Ensure more transparency and use of all relevant science for assessing health risks.
Working with other UK-based organisations
We collaborate with a range of other organisations in the UK, for example:
- We work closely with the Greener UK Coalition of NGOs who are campaigning to ensure high environmental standards are maintained, post-Brexit.
- We work closely with a number of other organisations, including Breast Cancer UK (BCUK), Pesticides Action Network UK (PAN UK), FIDRA (a Scottish NGO) Women’s Environmental Network (WEN), the Cancer Prevention & Education Society (CPES), and the Marine Conservation Society (MCS).
- We are members of Wildlife and Countryside Link.
- We also provide advice to organisations such as Friends of the Earth and WWF-UK.
Working with UK Members of Parliament
CHEM Trust has worked with a number of UK MPs, responded to UK Government consultations and has contributed to UK Parliamentary inquiries, for example:
- CHEM Trust produced a briefing with Greener UK/LINK for the Environment Bill Lords Committee on UK REACH: in support of Amendment 293E.
- In May, we produced a note for UK ministers on NGO concerns about industry proposals to reduce chemical safety data requirements in UK REACH.
- With Greener UK, we lead on a joint NGO letter to UK Secretaries of State about industry proposals to reduce requirements for chemical safety data in GB REACH in February.
- We submitted written evidence to the EU Environment Sub-Committee’s inquiry on future EU/UK relations.
- We submitted written evidence to the UK Environmental Audit Committee inquiry into water quality in rivers in February.
- We produced a briefing for Parliamentarians on The REACH etc. (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 in December 2020.
- We submitted evidence to the Department for International Trade on Annex 12A of the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), November 2020.
- We responded to the provisional common framework for chemicals, November 2020.
- We submitted written evidence to the EU International Agreements Sub-Committee inquiry on the UK-US trade negotiations, October 2020.
- We lead on a joint NGO letter to the UK Secretary of State for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs about GB REACH, October 2020.
- We submitted written evidence to the Trade Bill Committee on the risks of a UK-US trade deal on chemical protection standards June 2020.
- We wrote a letter to the Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee about chemicals regulation in June 2020.
- We produced a submission to the Environment Bill Commons Committee in March 2020.
- We submitted written evidence and gave oral evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee’s 2019 inquiry on Toxic Chemicals in Everyday Life.
- In January 2019 CHEM Trust responded to DEFRA’s request for comments on the draft indicators to be used to show environment change and measure progress in the 25 Year Environment Plan.
- In July 2018 CHEM Trust commented on the UK Government’s initial plans for a new UK chemical regulatory system in the event of a no-deal Brexit. See this blog for more details and an explanation for the delayed publication.
- Joint letter from CHEM Trust and 18 organisations to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Michael Gove, calling for keeping the UK in the EU main chemicals regulation REACH after Brexit, October 2017; and the response from the Minister responsible for chemicals regulation, Thérèse Coffey, November 2017.
- We submitted written evidence on the impact of TTIP on chemicals regulation to the Environmental Audit Committee of the UK House of Commons, for their inquiry on TTIP and the Environment in the first half of 2015.
We have also submitted responses to other consultation processes and joined calls for action in the UK:
- In December 2018 CHEM Trust responded to the Royal College of Paediatrics and Children’s Health’s call for evidence on the effects of indoor air quality on children and young people’s health.
- In September 2018 CHEM Trust joined 13 UK charities in a call for action to the UK Government in the Environment Act and at the Stockholm Convention in May 2019 to help prevent further polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) toxic chemical waste entering our oceans and killing our mammals. See our comments here.