DEFRA: Voluntary Reporting Scheme for engineered nanoscale materials

01 June 2006

The Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering responded to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (defra) consultation on the introduction of a voluntary reporting scheme for free, engineered nanomaterials. The scheme will request nanomaterial manufacturers, users and importers to provide information on the properties and characteristics of the nanomaterials they work with. This information will contribute to developing a better understanding of what nanomaterials are likely to be used in the UK and in determining any potential hazard, exposure and risk associated with these nanomaterials.

The Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering's response to the consultation was generally supportive of the scheme, but emphasised that directed research into the uncertainties around nanoparticles and nanotubes is still urgently required. The response also highlighted that companies who participated in the scheme would benefit be demonstrating their commitment to the responsible development of nanotechnologies.

The academies urged defra to be clear about how the data is collects will be analysed and how this analysis will be used to inform further developments of the scheme, identify research priorities and develop specific regulations. The need for independent scientists to be involved in the interpretation of the data was emphasised.

Defra has published a summary of responses to the consultation and its response. Many of our points were supported in its response.