What the Commons’ toxics inquiry tells us about the government’s Chemicals Strategy

DEFRA has barely put pen to paper for its Chemicals Strategy. But the Environmental Audit Committee’s inquiry into toxic chemicals in everyday life, which concluded this week, offered a number of clues about what it should deliver, finds Gareth Simkins.

In June, environment minister Thérèse Coffey admitted DEFRA had “not done any work” on crafting its Chemicals Strategy.Speaking before the Commons’ Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) inquiry into toxic chemicals in everyday life, she said that staff had spent no more than two weeks on the plan, before they were redeployed to prepare for a no-deal Brexit earlier this year. Announced 18 months ago as part of the 25 Year Environment Plan, work on the strategy is only just resuming, she told the MPs. Its publication is not expected until next year – or even 2021.

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