SEA Achievements 2016

(In no particular order)

1. A further 2 lunchtime briefing sessions were held at the House of Lords bringing our cumulative total to 26. Discussions with Peers, MPs and representatives from the regulatory authorities covered topics such as REACH, Issues with HMRC, Fee for Intervention and the Industrial Emissions Directive.

2. Following on from one of the luncheons, two of the MPs who attended wrote to the Secretary of State for the Environment to ask for the Government’s support for the continued use of chromium trioxide in our sector where no technologically or economically feasible alternatives are available and exposures are well controlled in line with best practice. It was pleasing to note that the UK Government supported this position and now both the European Chemicals Agency and the European Commission are likely to follow suit.

3. We took a group of members to the European Commission prior to the BREXIT vote so that they could meet with Commission officials and discuss current issues impacting on our sector. The final meeting was with the Head of the REACH Unit at the European Commission and members had a very productive discussion with him. The members found the visit very informative and worthwhile.

4. The SEA continues to take a lead role within the CETS organisation which has now become recognised by the European Commission as the lead European body for our sector. Meetings were held in Memmingen Germany, Paris and a board meeting was held in Vienna. Our CEO is currently President of CETS and will continue for a further 3 years when he can stand for re-election for a further 3 year period.

5. Our Biennial General Meeting was held and a new National Committee was elected along with a new Chairman and Vice-Chairman. They will each serve for a 2 year period and we are looking forward to developing our strategy for the coming years.

6. A number of meetings were held in Brussels with the European Commission, DG Enterprise & Industry and DG Environment to discuss the potential impact of the REACH registration and authorisation processes. Meetings were also held with the Hessen and Bavarian Representation to the EU in Brussels. It was most encouraging to get German MEPs involved in the debate and speak out strongly in support of SMEs and an overhaul of the REACH regulation, in particular the authorisation process.

7. The SEA is now involved in a Horizon 2020 funded EU project called PROCETS – Protective composite Coatings via Electrodeposition and Thermal Spraying. It is a 3 year project to investigate possible environmentally friendly alternative coatings that do not use chromium trioxide. There are 16 project partners including a number of Universities, R&D establishments, industrial partners and Trade Associations. Our role will encompass the development of standards and dissemination.

8. Our CEO was a key speaker at an event held under the SME Week umbrella at the European Parliament. The event was entitled Study on the Impact of REACH Authorisation: Costs and benefits of REACH Authorisation. Our CEO stated that many European Chemicals Agency reports were not comparing like with like and although the costs to industry were very real, most the benefits were hypothetical or theoretical.

9. The SEA continues to operate in a financially sound manner and has developed sufficient reserves to continue to develop over the coming years. Reserves have increased by more than 10 fold in the last 15 years leaving us in an extremely healthy financial state.

10. 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;

a. Government / Industry IPPC Sounding Board
b. Government / Industry LA-IPPC Sounding Board
c. European Commission Technical Working Group – STM BREF
d. Environmental Permitting Programme Stakeholder Committee
e. Surface Engineering Board of the Institute of Material, Minerals & Mining
f. Comité Européen des Traitements de Surfaces (CETS)
g. BSI Committee STI/033 Electrodeposited and other coatings
h. Nickel REACH Consortium
i. Nickel Institute / CETS Nickel Working Group
j. DECC Focus Groups regarding climate change agreements
k. Cross-sector REACH group

11. The high profile that the SEA now enjoys means that we were involved with numerous consultations during the year from the Environment Agency, HSE, DEFRA, DECC, and many European regulatory bodies.

12. In order to keep pace with the ever increasing use of social media, we engaged with a third party marketing agency to assist with the development of our website, Facebook and Twitter accounts and to help manage our search engine optimisation process.

13. We supported the Advanced Engineering Show at the National Exhibition Centre and thought that it was an excellent event. We will certainly attend the next show and may even have a larger stand or look to have a surface engineering pavilion stand if there is enough interest.

14. We supported the Cleaning & Degreasing Forum held at the RAF Cosford Museum. It was an excellent event with around 60 participants and it is hoped to develop a devoted membership section for this branch of our industry.