Red Tape Challenge focuses on green regulation

2nd September 2011


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  • Business & Industry ,
  • UK government ,
  • Environment agencies

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IEMA

The government has renewed its calls for suggestions on how to simplify UK environmental regulation as a part of its flagship scheme to reduce the administrative "burden" of legislation on businesses.

For the next three weeks, the Red Tape Challenge is focusing on legislation covering waste, emissions and environmental protection in the UK, with organisations and practitioners encouraged to share their experiences of working with the regulations, specifically whether they are effective or overly burdensome.

Regulation has an important role to play … but some of the rules we ask businesses to follow are either too complicated, ineffective or just obsolete,” said environment minister Jim Paice. “The Red Tape Challenge is a chance to tell us how we can protect the environment in a more effective and simpler way that puts fewer burdens on businesses.”

The no-holds-barred approach, which means all 278 environmental regulations are up for scrutiny and could face being scrapped or replaced, has been welcomed by some in industry, but attracted criticism from environmental campaigners.

While Robert Hun, executive director of waste management firm Veolia, said: “This is a unique chance for businesses to tell government which regulations are working, which are not or if there are better and easier ways of achieving the same results.”

Friends of the Earth says the initiative sends the wrong signals about the government's commitment to being the greenest ever.

"Environmental regulations can be good news for business,” said policy and campaigns director Craig Bennett. “They give certainty about the government's commitment to building a stable, clean and healthy future and encourage firms to invest in new technologies and industries.”

In announcing the challenge’s three-week focus on green legislation, Defra revealed it was particularly interested in hearing ideas on:

  • How businesses could work together on voluntary labelling systems to help consumers compare the environmental impact of products.
  • Whether regulations could be combined to reduce the administrative burden on local authorities and businesses
  • How to improve the transparency of environmental data without regulation.

The news came just days after the UK Environmental Law Association published research raising concerns over a lack a coherence and clarity in the country’s environmental legislation.

To share your feedback and to read other’s comments visit the Red Tape Challenge website.

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