Defra has published plans to simplify regulations and reduce costs for businesses.

The plan 'Lifting the Burden' identifies ways of cutting bureaucracy and invites suggestions to streamline Defra's regulations. It sets out 64 initiatives to help with simplification; 18 of these have been costed so far, and £86 million of savings to business have been identified.

Suggestions in the plan include:

  1. Reducing red tape from the water industry by working with the Environment Agency, Ofwat, the Drinking Water Inspectorate and water companies to identify and take action on areas with high administrative burdens.
  2. A review of domestic and EU commercial fishing legislation aimed at reducing administrative and policy burdens on industry.
  3. Integration of the permitting regimes for waste and pollution and prevention control to reduce burdens on industry.

Defra's Better Regulation Minister, Lord Bach, said: "Regulation affects us all whether as individuals, customers or as businesses. What we do at Defra also affects the environment and, often, animal health. Therefore, we need to strike the right balance between imposing safeguards and minimising demands on business. Lifting the Burden achieves that."

"But it is just the beginning. Many new initiatives to simplify existing laws will be added to the plan over the coming months. I invite our stakeholders to let us have their ideas and proposals." Lifting the Burden is available online at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/regulat/regulat.asp