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Business Taskforce report on cutting EU Red Tape – measurement aspects by Nick Boley

The report from the Business Taskforce “Cut EU red tape”, commissioned by Prime Minister David Cameron, has been published today.

The report forms the basis of those areas where both the Prime Minister and British business wish to see EU Regulations reduced or removed where they are considered to place to significant a burden on business. There are points covering 30 key headings in the report, some of them having a distinct analytical measurement dimension. These can be summarised as:

  1. Excessive rules on country of origin labelling for food. The example quoted covers the labelling of meat and meat products. These are areas which have been of interest following the horsemeat scandal, and where analytical measurements may have a part to play.
  2. Unnecessary proposals on soils. This covers the Soil Framework Directive and the burdens for farmers and small landowners to comply including issues with redevelopment of brownfield sites. Contaminated land sites do frequently require extensive analytical testing to check levels of toxic contaminants prior to remediation and/or redevelopment.
  3. Costly and complex chemicals regulation. This mainly covers REACH, and in particular notes the 2018 registration deadline for chemicals in quantities under 100 tonnes, which will have a disproportionate effect on SMEs, and need to be implemented more simply and cost-effectively.  Some of the ideas put forward, including Issuing clear guidance on fair cost-sharing with SMEs and other experts, providing simplified guidance, focusing on those areas which SMEs find most difficult to interpret, listing known authorisation consortia (for specific substances) on the ECHA website,and producing a worked example of what an ‘authorisation dossier’ would look like, so companies have a better idea of what is required, have already been widely discussed in the UK, and do have some support across the EU and in the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).

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