SNP And Friends Of The Earth: Scottish MEPS Must Back Key Chemicals Legislation

16 November 2005
The Scottish National Party in the European Parliament today joined with Friends of the Earth Scotland to call on Scottish MEPs to reject the weak compromise proposals on controversial EU chemicals legislation REACH and unite around the strongest proposals possible.

The damaging compromise has been agreed by European groups including Labour, Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives.

SNP President Ian Hudghton and European Spokesman Alyn Smith speaking in Strasbourg called for Scottish MEPs to back the alternative "Greens- EFA/GUE compromise package", which the SNP supports in full.

Speaking after Tuesday's debate Ian Hudghton MEP said:

"I have been disheartened to hear that last week many of the stronger proposals in REACH have been watered down by these political groups and that if they have their way much of the good that could be done by REACH will be rejected."

"I and my colleague Alyn Smith will be opposing this proposal and I hope that Scotland's five other MEPs will help by opting to strengthen the legislation."

Alyn Smith MEP added:

"It is unacceptable that an important piece of legislation that this Parliament has spent two years working on is now being unpicked in a back room deal between other parties. "

"REACH offers us a chance to ensure that chemicals used in our daily lives and in products are safe. The level of toxins in our society is a major issue that can lead to all sorts of health fears and we should have accurate information on these chemicals."

"These toxins end up affecting our environment as well as our health. It is vitally important that we have a system where chemicals are safe, registered and any potential dangers are known - the compromise deal just leaves too many loopholes. "

"I call on my Scottish colleagues to protect the Scottish consumer and the Scottish environment by supporting real legislation for REACH."

Campaigner Andrea Foster from Friends of the Earth Scotland, in Strasbourg to lobby MEPs said:

"In order to guarantee that the reform of Europe's chemical policy will protect human health and the environment, whilst maintaining EU competitiveness, support for the compromise package co-signed by the Green-EFA Group and the GUE is essential.

"It is crucial that all Scottish MEPs join the SNP in backing the compromise package on authorisation, registration, duty of care and on access to information and transparency."