SEA Achievements 2011

(In no particular order)

1. Another excellent financial performance. The SEA now has the highest level of funds since its inception and within the Federation which is an excellent base from which to develop long term success.

2. The high profile that the SEA now enjoys means that we were involved with numerous consultations during the year including:

  • Health & Safety Executive (HSE) proposal for extending cost recovery
  • HSE proposed amendments to RIDDOR
  • Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) consultation on the simplification of CCAs
  • DECC & DEFRA changes to Environmental Permitting Programme
  • Environment Agency (EA) review of charging schemes for 2012 to 2015
  • EA consultation on standard rules for environmental permitting
  • European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), numerous Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) proposals

3. The SEA now has wide-ranging representation on many committees / organisations engaged in / with the surface engineering sector at a regional, national and European level including,

  • Government / Industry IPPC Sounding Board
  • Government / Industry LA-IPPC Sounding Board
  • European Commission Technical Working Group – STM BREF
  • Environmental Permitting Programme Stakeholder Committee
  • Surface Engineering Board of the Institute of Material, Minerals & Mining
  • Comité Européen des Traitements de Surfaces (CETS)
  • Ministry of Defence SAG:E3 Committee
  • BSI Committee STI/033 Electrodeposited and other coatings
  • Nickel REACH Consortium
  • Nickel Institute / CETS Nickel Working Group
  • DECC Focus Groups regarding new climate change agreements
  • Cross-sector REACH group

4. The SEA continues to take a lead role within the CETS organisation with our Chief Executive being elected chairman of the Nickel Working Group. Meetings were held in Zoetermeer, Holland and Paris, France.

5. A further 2 lunchtime briefing sessions were held at the House of Lords where the impact of REACH, unworkable environmental legislation and spiralling energy costs were discussed with Peers, MPs and representative from regulatory authorities. The SEA provided briefing papers to Peers, MPs and representative of various Government Departments on a number of subjects.

6.  A meeting was held in Brussels with the European Commission, DG Enterprise & Industry to discuss the potential impact of the REACH registration and authorisation processes.

7. The SEA has supported the Ministry of Defence through its participation in the Standards Advisory Group E3 and has helped to develop many new standards related to surface engineering. Meetings were held at Barrow, Leeds, Washington and Glasgow.

8. The SEA has continued its partnership with the Health & Safety Executive regarding biological monitoring of exposure to workplace carcinogens, in particular hexavalent chromium, soluble nickel and cadmium. The initial results of the programme are very encouraging and clearly show that where companies work in accordance with the sector’s best practice guidelines, then exposure levels are comparable with background levels. A full report is due in Spring 2012.

9. The Climate Change Agreements for the surface engineering sector and the heat treatment sector both successfully reported to the Department of Energy & Climate Change for the 2010 period and were deemed to have met their targets. Members of the scheme paid a reduced rate of climate change levy on their energy bills giving a saving of around £7 million in total. The heat treatment sector has managed a 15% relative reduction in energy consumption since the agreement began with the surface engineering sector managing 21%.

10. The SEA won the prestigious Trade Association Forum Best Practice Award for Sector Representation following its lobbying efforts regarding REACH. The finalists included, amongst others, the Council of Mortgage Lenders and the Mineral Product Association who are substantially bigger than the SEA and have significantly greater resources.

11. Lobbying against certain aspects of the implementation of the REACH regulation took up an enormous amount of time during the year. The cross-sector group met on numerous occasions and was able to raise awareness of the potential impact of REACH across a wide range of industrial sectors.

12. We took a group of members to the SurFin Conference and Exhibition in Chicago and arranged for a number of visits to surface engineering companies in the locality. It is hoped to take a group to Germany and China during 2012.

13. The SEA took part in the Surface World Exhibition held in the Pavilion at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham. Although the show is quite small now it is important that we lend our support to the only remaining UK based exhibition that focuses solely on our sector.

14. During the year we have participated in a Technology Strategy Board funded project to investigate the feasibility of extracting nickel from filter cake waste and sludge. The initial results are very encouraging and full field trials will begin in 2012.

15. We held our first Industry Conference for many years and it was a great success with over 70 delegates attending the conference and evening dinner reception hosted by Lord Hoyle with guest speaker Malcolm Harbour, MEP.