The UK has some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world and it is right for us to cement our status as a global leader by continuing to raise the bar now we have left the EU. It is welcome that the trade agreement struck with the EU recognises that voluntary cooperation on chemicals regulation can facilitate trade in ways that benefit consumers, businesses and the environment and can contribute to enhancing the protection of human and animal health. I am pleased that the agreement also notes the UK's and the EU's commitment to facilitating the exchange of non-confidential information on the issue of chemicals.
I would like to reassure you that Ministers have stated their determination that there should be no need for any additional animal testing for a chemical that has already been registered to EU Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH). I am pleased to tell you that the Government will recognise the validity of any animal testing that has already been undertaken and so avoid the need for further testing. The grandfathering of all existing UK-held REACH registrations into the UK system will further avoid the need to duplicate animal testing associated with re-registration.
The UK will now be able to establish its own independent chemical regime. Although both the UK and EU will operate REACH frameworks, the two systems will not be linked. This means that companies wishing to retain access to the UK market will be required to notify and submit registration data to the Health and Safety Executive to confirm the registrations and ensure compliance with UK REACH.
I am pleased that the UK has been at the forefront of opposing animal tests where alternative approaches could be used. This is known as the last-resort principle, which will be retained and enshrined in legislation through the Environment Bill.