Dutch release Nano Action Plan

By Katie Bird

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: European union

The Dutch government has launched its Nano Action Plan
concentrating on ethics, risk research, and innovation and
development.

The Netherlands is the third biggest investor, as a percentage of GDP, in nanotechnology after Israel and Singapore according to the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs. Current legislation adequate ​In terms of the current legal position on the technology the Dutch government has concluded that at present no new legislation is needed to govern nanotechnology. However, it says that research is needed to clarify potential risks and areas where knowledge is lacking. The government's action plan includes proposals on managing risks, research and innovation, the communication of the technology with the wider society and legal aspects. Regarding nanotechnology research the research community will submit a report later this summer outlining a proposal to come into force by 2010, if approved by the government. A least 15 percent of the research budget should be spent annually on risk assessment, the ministry stipulated. The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment has already begin an assessment of the potential risks of the technology which it will present later this year. In addition a committee will be formed to advise the government on the ethics of the debate as well as giving guidance on communication. The announcement from the Dutch government comes shortly after the European Commission outlined its plans to launch a public dialogue into the technology. European dialogue to raise awareness ​ Although specific details of the project remain undetermined in essence the dialogue will attempt to raise awareness of the potential of the technology and allay fears the public may have over its safety for human and environmental health. The Commission is in agreement with the Dutch government that current legislation is adequate, however it wants to ensure that this remains the case. "The legislation that is already in place is adequate and covers a wide range of industries, however we want to be sure that as the technology progresses the legislation develops alongside,"​ EU spokesperson for enterprise and industry Ton Van Lierop told CosmeticsDesign.com. Nanotechnology has the potential to provide huge benefits to the economy, but a sharp eye must be kept on its development, he added.

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