Manufacturers and suppliers of industrial chemical products in Northern Ireland now have a collective voice to influence the direction of legislation affecting them, with the recent establishment of the Formulators Club.

The club, established with the help of Invest Northern Ireland, is a forum through which those working in the sector can keep up to date with new and pending legislation and can input collectively to the shaping of new regulations.

The first meeting of the club, held recently, saw Peter Donaldson of Kilco Chemicals appointed as chairman. The group’s first project is to prepare a collective response to the European Union Chemicals White Paper, which is currently out for consultation.

Dermot Hanna of Invest NI’s Scientific Services division explains the aim of the club: “The sector is made up of many small companies that are being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of regulations and directives in place or pending.

“The Formulators Club is really a specialist business club that will meet regularly and hold seminars and events to keep the industry up to date with legislation and also flag up new developments.

“Importantly it also gives the sector some power to lobby for their interests in respect of regulations and directives.”

Invest NI’s ongoing support for the chemicals sector includes assistance with meeting the requirements of CHIP3 legislation which necessitates companies preparing safety data sheets for all their products, an onerous task that is time consuming and can be therefore be costly.

Future meetings of the club will include presentations from specialist speakers on new products and chemicals, and presentations by Invest NI staff on the range of support available from the agency.