Environmental standards 'good' for growth

18th July 2011

Reducing "red tape" must not be at the expense of the vital role regulation plays in correcting market failures, promoting fairness and protecting the environment, says the Aldersgate Group in a new report, which argues that effective regulation is essential to economic growth.

“Effective green laws create a level playing field which drives efficiency, early action and the innovation in UK companies that will be the engine for future growth and jobs,” claims the group’s chair, Peter Young.

The government is currently asking for views on all 278 existing environmental regulations as part of its Red Tape Challenge, before deciding which should stay, be merged or scrapped.

But the Aldersgate Group, which consists of some of the UK’s largest companies and environmental bodies, including IEMA, says the deregulation initiative threatens to lock in polluting industrial processes for decades to come, jeopardising future competitiveness and damaging the UK’s attractiveness for green investment.

“A crude deregulation drive risks damaging competitiveness and severely threatens the prime minister’s commitment to a green industrial revolution,” says Young. “The regulatory framework should encourage a rapid shift to a sustainable economy rather than being held back by vested interests or the lowest common denominator.”

Speaking at the launch of the report, which examines how regulation can help to reduce the UK’s environmental and financial debts, climate change minister Greg Barker said he accepts that regulation is necessary to protect the environment, but believes some existing legislation is outdated and in need of reform, and this can be achieved without risking environmental protection.

The Aldersgate Group agrees that by streamlining legislation and adopting a smarter approach to implementation, it is possible to achieve “greener” outcomes and reduce administrative burdens. It recommends adopting a “best value” approach to regulation, which seeks to protect essential economic, social and environmental objectives at the least cost.

Meanwhile, the government is calling on businesses and inspectors to “blow the whistle” on inconsistent and over-zealous enforcement of rules and regulations. It wants people to use their experience of different regulators and say where tickbox regulation, multiple inspections and conflicting advice is getting in the way, harming their business and preventing economic growth.

A survey of UK manufacturers by insurance firm Zurich reports that the regulatory environment remains a significant barrier to growth, with 20% of firms claiming that red tape is a key factor holding back their expansion.


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

EU and UK citizens fear net-zero delivery deficit

Support for net zero remains high across the UK and the EU, but the majority of citizens don't believe that major emitters and governments will reach their climate targets in time.

16th May 2024

Read more

There is strong support for renewable energy as a source of economic growth among UK voters, particularly among those intending to switch their support for a political party.

16th May 2024

Read more

Taxing the extraction of fossil fuels in the world’s most advanced economies could raise $720bn (£575bn) by 2030 to support vulnerable countries facing climate damages, analysis has found.

2nd May 2024

Read more

The largest-ever research initiative of its kind has been launched this week to establish a benchmark for the private sector’s contribution to the UK’s 2050 net-zero target.

2nd May 2024

Read more

Weather-related damage to homes and businesses saw insurance claims hit a record high in the UK last year following a succession of storms.

18th April 2024

Read more

The Scottish government has today conceded that its goal to reduce carbon emissions by 75% by 2030 is now “out of reach” following analysis by the Climate Change Committee (CCC).

18th April 2024

Read more

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) has issued a statement clarifying that no changes have been made to its stance on offsetting scope 3 emissions following a backlash.

16th April 2024

Read more

While there is no silver bullet for tackling climate change and social injustice, there is one controversial solution: the abolition of the super-rich. Chris Seekings explains more

4th April 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close