04 Feb 2009   |   News

UK sets out new rules for nanotechnologies

An across-government group overseeing nanotechnologies in the UK has made a number of pledges to ensure the responsible development of the field.


An across-government group overseeing nanotechnologies in the UK has made a number of pledges it says will ensure the responsible development of the field.

The aim is to develop a strategy for the development and use of nanotechnologies, incorporating the views of academia, industry, environmental groups and the public

The group, led by Science and Innovation minister Paul Drayson, and including ministers from departments for Environment and Rural Affairs, Health, Work and Pensions and Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform made seven commitments, which the departments will take forward. They will:

  1. Respond in Spring 2009 to recommendations made by the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution about the governance of novel materials.
  2. Develop a better understanding of the objectives and needs of the UK industry sectors that are likely to use nanotechnologies and nanomaterials.
  3. Work with industry to develop a workable reporting scheme for nanomaterials.
  4. Enable dialogue with interested parties in the development of the strategy.  
  5. Improve the targeting and prioritisation of UK research devoted to understanding and managing the health risks associated with nanotechnologies.
  6. Ensure that action is taken where there is evidence that products containing nanoparticles may pose a risk to workers, consumers or the environment.  
  7. 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.

Drayson 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.”


Never miss an update from Science|Business:   Newsletter sign-up