The British Coatings Federation has released a pocket manifesto to help members highlight the sector’s contribution the UK economic prosperity and motivate government action to address its challenges.
The aid for members of the UK coatings industry was launched at the British Coatings Federation’s (BCF) annual conference in Liverpool this week.
The pocket-sized document asks MPs and policy-makers to consider the needs and concerns of the coatings industry in the context of its wider impact on the economy – it supports 16% of GDP – and its critical importance to the prosperity of priority growth sectors like aerospace.
Primarily, BCF demands a “level playing field” for its members to compete on and identifies the potential negative impacts of REACH regulation on coatings manufacturers as its primary area of regulatory concern.
REACH – the set of European regulations pertaining to the control, restriction and prohibition of chemicals – was discussed in panel debates and presentations at BCF’s annual conference.
In particular, the possibility of restricted use of strontium chromate was raised.
This chemical is commonly used in safety critical aerospace engine coatings but also in the construction and automotive industries among others.
Delegates were concerned that pressure to find alternatives to strontium chromate might lead to quality and performance compromises and damage the competitive position of their European manufacturing operations compared to the rest of the world.
While delegate accepted the need to find alternatives to potentially harmful substances in their products and welcomed the availability of funding via, for example, the Technology Strategy Board, for research into such alternatives, it was felt that better impact assessment and timing was needed in REACH.
Another chemical at risk under REACH regulation is ADCA which is used in the wallpaper industry. Jack Straw, MP for Blackburn, spoke at BCF’s conference about his concern over the impact of a possible ban on the use of ADCA for manufacturers in his constituency and outlined his activities to challenge such a move.
Despite its challenges however, a sector health and wellbeing report at BCF’s conference showed that the British coatings sector as a whole is growing, with decorative paints performing particularly well.
This growth includes international trade with exports so far increasing by 9% this year.
The pocket manifesto distributed at BCFs conference communicates this bright outlook in graphical form and highlights the sectors progress in becoming more sustainable.