At the annual lunch of the Packaging and Industrial Films Association, chairman Dick Searle hit out at the likely impacts of the EU REACH legislation, which will require the testing and registration of all chemicals used in manufacturing. “This is the best example of the worst excesses of the Green lobby,” he said on his last day in office.

“We have contributed to the stormy debate. This legislation will have a huge effect on our working lives. And, apart from the cost, could result in a wide range of products being withdrawn from the market. This is not because of any toxicity issue, but because the cost of testing will far exceed the revenues generated,” he argued.

He believed the outcome of this legislation would be a real test for the future direction of the EU.

He also gave a powerful view on the decline of UK manufacturing industry. “Those of us who have spent our working life in manufacturing are horrified to see the apparent apathy of politicians and hear their exhortations to innovate for success. Our industry already innovates on a significant scale. Frankly, it is largely how most of us have survived for the past few years. The burden of regulation, exchange rate policies, high real interest rates and other macro economic factors are really what is killing manufacturing.”

He added: “One of these days the politicians will wake up to see the true cost of this. After all, we can’t all work in computers, retailing or the public sector.”

Keith Stenning (BCL, BPI) and John Sale (ICI, British Visqueen, BPI) were made Lifetime Honorary Members of PIFA.



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