FEATURE SESSION: UK Government Sector Briefing

UK Government - for a successful and sustainable chemicals sector

Time & Location

Wednesday: 12.00 to 13.00, Stage 1

UK Government Sector Briefing – Featuring: Opening pre-recorded video address from: George Freeman, Minister of State for Science, Research and Innovation

About this Session

The chemicals sector is crucial to the UK. The UK Government works closely with the Devolved Administrations, chemical businesses, trade associations and NGOs right across the UK on areas including regulation, trade, energy and net zero to help to create sustainable growth and a thriving sector. The presentations by each department will aim to explain current and future areas of attention, and how best to engage with the respective departments on these important topics.

Featuring: Opening pre-recorded video address from: George Freeman, Minister of State for Science, Research and Innovation

Session presentations from:

  • Department for Business and Trade
  • Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
  • Health and Safety Executive

Opening pre-recorded video address from: George Freeman, Minister of State for Science, Research and Innovation

George Freeman

George Freeman

Minister of State for Science, Research and Innovation - Department for Science, Innovation and Technology

George was elected to Parliament in 2010 after a 15-year career founding, financing and managing high growth technology start-ups in the biotech, agritech & cleantech sectors. He currently serves as a Minister of State at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology. He has served in five science, tech and innovation-focussed Ministerial roles across multiple Government departments since 2010:

  • Minister for Science, Research & Innovation in BEIS
  • The UK’s first Minister for Life Science in the Coalition, where he led the UK Life Science & Agritech Industrial Strategies & launched the £100k Genomics & Catalyst Funding program
  • Minister of State for the Future of Transport
  • Prime Minister’s UK Trade Envoy
  • Chair of the Prime Minister’s Policy Board
Guest Panellist: Dr Matt Penrose

Guest Panellist: Dr Matt Penrose

Head of CRD’s Strategy, Evidence and Engagement Unit, Health and Safety Executive

Matt is Head of Strategy, Evidence and Engagement Unit in HSE’s Chemicals Regulation Division (CRD) taking up the post in January 2021. He joined HSE in 2000 as a specialist inspector and the civil service in 1996 following completion of his PhD in molecular biology at the University of Leeds. He has held numerous leadership positions in HSE during his career, most recently as Head of Chemicals EU Exit Unit focusing on the delivery of the legal framework for chemicals for when the UK left the EU.

His current responsibilities include sitting on his Divisional Senior Leadership Team which oversees the delivery of robust regulatory outcomes across a range of different regimes to ensure that people and places are protected through the safe and effective use of chemicals.

Guest Panellist: Melanie Foster

Guest Panellist: Melanie Foster

Head of Chemicals Strategy, Policy and Trade, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Melanie Foster heads up the Chemicals Strategy, Policy and Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) Team in DEFRA, leading work to develop a UK Chemicals Strategy and driving action on chemicals policy, including work on priority chemicals issues – for example, the “forever chemicals” known as PFAS and chemical mixtures – and implementation of the UN Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. Melanie has 15 years’ experience of working in Government and has held several policy roles since joining the civil service. Melanie joined the Chemicals team in Defra at the start of 2021. Prior to joining the Chemicals team Melanie worked on Resources and Waste policy. Her previous experience also includes working on climate change and forestry, international chemicals, better regulation and as a Private Secretary to a Defra Minister

Guest Panellist: Andrew Waters

Guest Panellist: Andrew Waters

Head of Chemicals, Department for Business and Trade

Andrew has a master’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Bath, UK and is a chartered engineer with the Institute of Chemical Engineers (IChemE). He spent almost a decade with Johnson Matthey’s licensing and catalyst division (Davy) under a variety of technical and commercial roles. He then spent a short time as Head of Commercial for a UK green start-up before moving to be Head of Chemicals for the Department for International Trade (now Department for Business and Trade), helping the UK Chemical market with exports and Foreign Direct Investment.

Guest Panellist: Beccy Eggleton

Guest Panellist: Beccy Eggleton

Deputy Director, Chemicals and Critical Minerals, Department for Business and Trade

Beccy joined the Chemicals and Plastics team in June 2022 to champion the sectors, and to work alongside them to identify opportunities to drive their competitiveness and to support them to decarbonise. In September 2022 she also took on responsibility for leading the Department’s work on Critical Minerals strategy and domestic policy. Beccy has spent the majority of her career in the Department for Business and Trade (and its predecessors) working across a broad portfolio of policies including innovation, skills, consumer law and labour markets. Beccy was one of the Deputy Directors leading on the Industrial Strategy, focusing on the delivery of projects to support the five foundations of productivity. Following a year working on the government response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Beccy was most recently in the Steel and Metals team working on the steel decarbonisation programme.