This response to the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution's(RCEP) initial consultation on its new study on the environmental effects of novel materials and applications draws on the results of the joint Royal Society/Royal Academy of Engineering report on nanoscience and nanotechnologies and also draws on comments from other experts. The Royal Society believes that the scientific community has an important role to play in ensuring the responsible development of new and emerging technologies. We support the RCEP taking a life-cycle approach in its new study. In addition we suggest that it considers:
- impacts within the broader sustainable development policy context;
- whether the UK has adequate incentives to encourage novel materials and applications that have a net benefit to the environment;
- what role those involved in the research and development of novel materials and applications (both in the academic and industrial sector) should play in identifying potential hazards;
- the appropriate research and funding models for delivering the research needed to underpin the regulation of novel materials and applications.