The Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) ran a consultation earlier this year to gather stakeholders’ views and insights on its strategy and enforcement policy.
In its response, IEMA set out a range of recommendations for strengthening the OEP’s remit and long-term impact.
Key among IEMA’s recommendations was that there should be a contingency in place for the OEP to make the case for additional resourcing if it feels it cannot fulfil its role with the resources it has been granted. There are concerns that the OEP will struggle to have an impact with the budget and staff resources that have so far been made available to it.
Another important recommendation focuses on how the OEP will work with others, and requests a clearer delineation of duties when it comes to organisations such as the Environment Agency, so that it is easier to understand how the government’s environmental arm’s-length bodies will work together.
IEMA’s consultation response also set out the need for the OEP to not only successfully deliver its enforcement function, but also to focus its efforts on fostering a drive towards continuous environmental improvement among public authorities, going beyond a narrow focus on compliance and actually seeking to enhance the natural environment and public health.
The OEP is due to issue a summary of consultation responses and report on its next steps during June. IEMA’s full consultation response is available at bit.ly/DevelopingOEP