The CBI has welcomed the progress made by business in environmental performance as reported in the Environment Agency's annual 'Spotlight on Business' report published on Thursday.

In response to the report, the CBI said that it shows that many companies are taking their environmental responsibilities seriously, and are making significant progress on their environmental performance. But with environmental regulation becoming ever more demanding, a distinction must be made between deliberate offenders and businesses with good environmental records, which make a genuine mistake.

Businesses spent £3.4 billion on meeting their environmental obligations during 2004, according to the report and it also identifies the lowest ever level of hazardous waste production by business, as well as a reduction in non-hazardous waste. Waste recovery rates were at record levels in 2004, with 53% of all business waste recycled or re-used. Serious pollution incidents reached their lowest level on record, although they declined only slightly on the previous year. Greenhouse gas emissions by industry also fell. Contact: