UK government launches nanotech strategy

The current UK government plans to set up a ‘leadership group’ headed by ministers as part of its strategy for nanotechnology and fund research into its safety, with a collaboration group formed to put consumer groups in touch with academia and industry.

The report says the Nanotechnologies Leadership Group, which will include representatives from industry, will be chaired by a BIS minister and will meet at least twice a year. However, the group will only be in action for around two years, after which its work will be reviewed. The group is meant to provide direction for the UK’s nanotechnology industry and highlight wider industry needs that might be met by developments in the area.

The strategy calls for safety monitoring and ‘horizon scanning’ to be performed by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the Food Safety Agency and the Health and Safety Executive.

Lord McKenzie, Department for Work and Pensions parliamentary under secretary, said: “Working with partners HSE aims to develop a sensible risk-based approach for the regulation of these new technologies so that UK industry can fully maximise the benefits, whilst ensuring that workers and users are protected.”

There are no plans to extend guidance on risk management beyond carbon nanotubes but the strategy called for the HSE to monitor toxicological literature to check whether other nanomaterials need to be controlled more tightly.

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