Renewed ministerial commitment on nanotechnologies

The cross-Government group responsible for nanotechnologies has outlined a number of pledges to ensure the responsible development of the field.

Led by Minster of State for Science and Innovation Lord Drayson, the group includes Ministers from Departments for Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra), Health (DH), Work and Pensions (DWP) and Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR).

The Ministerial group made seven commitments, which the various Government departments represented on the Group will take forward. They will:

•      Respond in Spring 2009 to recommendations made by the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution about the governance of novel materials. This will be led by Defra

•      Develop a better understanding of the objectives and needs of the UK industry sectors that are likely to use nanotechnologies and nanomaterials. BERR will lead on this

•      Work with industry to develop a workable reporting scheme for nanomaterials. This will be lead by BERR and DIUS

•      Develop a programme of dialogue involving the full spectrum of interested parties (academia, industry, NGOs and the public) in the development of the strategy. DIUS to lead on this

•      Improve the targeting and prioritisation of UK research devoted to understanding and managing the health risks associated with nanotechnologies. This will be led by DH and the Research Councils

•      Ensure that action is taken where there is evidence that products containing nanoparticles may pose a risk to workers, consumers or the environment. The Health and Safety Executive, BERR and Defra will coordinate this

•      Ahead of EU legislation, work with industry to develop a workable way of providing information about products that are being developed and placed on the market. This will be led by BERR and Defra.

Lord Drayson, Minister of State for Science and Innovation and Chair of the Ministerial Group, said: “The Government is committed to the responsible development of nanotechnologies. We will work with all interested parties - including the public - to develop a suitable strategy that addresses both the exploitation of technologies and the management of potential risks.”

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