The cost of regulatory compliance for operators that specialise in chemical distribution will continue to rise, as Brexit will not be able to offer any significant regulation changes in the sector, according to the Chemical Business Association (CBA).

A survey of CBA members found that almost four-fifths (79%) did not expect the industry’s regulatory framework to change significantly as the result of Brexit.

CBA’s Chief Executive, Peter Newport said that members “do not believe that Brexit will deliver any significant changes to the industry’s regulatory framework and they are convinced that the costs of regulatory compliance will continue to rise”.

A majority of members (56%) said they were less optimistic about the prospects for their businesses post-Brexit - only 9% of respondents were more optimistic.

Almost three-in-ten respondents (29%) said they had reduced investment plans as a result of Brext, while 12% said they planned to increase investment plans over the next three years.

“As far as our member companies are concerned, the continuing uncertainty resulting from the Brexit vote is unwelcome. Our survey shows that the main impact of the decision has been to weaken business optimism and damage investment intentions,” Newport added.

The association counts operators such as the HazChem Network; Dascher; HW Coates; Neil & Brown and Potter Logistics as members, as well as suppliers to manufacturers. It claims its members employ more than 8,700 people, moving four million tonnes of chemicals with a total market value of €3bn (£2.6bn).

Movements of chemicals have been particularly affected by EU regulations. In 2009 Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations were amended to incorporate the European-wide ADR agreements, and again in 2011 to reflect changes to the EU Transportable Pressure Equipment Directive.

Further amendments were made in 2015 after being adopted by the European Commission.

  • On 12 October. Motor Transport will be hosting ‘The Road Transport Brexit Debate’ at the Scarman Conference Centre, Warwick. The aim of the debate – supported by the RHA - is to lead the industry agenda when it comes to getting what road transport wants out of Brexit. James Backhouse, director, Backhouse Jones Solicitors, who will speak at the event, said: “Brexit, when it occurs, could well be the single most significant event impacting on the UK economy since the second world war. The media is focused on the government level negotiations, and these are pivotal, but business also needs to engage to make a success of our economy outside the EU. To achieve that success the UK and its businesses, particularly those which are closely linked with EU trade now, need to understand what Brexit actually is and how to negotiate, plan and compete successfully after we leave." Chris Yarsley, EU affairs manager at the FTA, said: "He was very keen to hear from other UK operators at the debate on what they would want to see in place in the post-Brexit world. Places at this free to attend event are limited, so book early to avoid disappointment.