The Government is looking into ways of facilitating chemicals data sharing with the EU according to the Defra Minister, Lord Goldsmith, during a debate in the House of Lords. This is something the government is pursuing in the current negotiations with the EU. Article 120 of the EU’s REACH legislation allows for this possibility, but requires an international agreement between the EU and the beneficiary country.
The Minister stated the UK will not seek regulatory alignment with the EU, “but will not diverge simply for the sake of it”. The UK might take different approaches on some chemical substances, but it is claimed not with the aim to reducing standards or level of protection, but to better respond to British circumstances. More rigorous rules minimising animal testing was mentioned as an example of an area the UK might want to diverge. However, there are concerns that avoiding animal testing has in practice meant that safety data of a substance has been missing, but the substance is still kept on the market.