Environmental regulations will be made simpler and more effective while remaining as strong as ever following a review of red tape Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman announced today. Simpler and smarter environment regulations will provide savings to businesses of more than £1billion over five years and protect the environment by being cheaper and easier for companies to follow while enforcement will be targeted at companies that are not abiding by the rules.

The Environment theme has been open for comment on the Red Tape Challenge website since April 2011, with a ‘spotlight’ period in September 2011. The resulting package follows a vigorous challenge process incorporating the 3,500 crowd-sourced comments and inbox submissions, views from Defra’s Sounding Board of environmental organisations and business representatives, as well as views from a separate panel of businesses.

Of 255 regulations, 132 will be improved, mainly through simplification or mergers; 70 will be kept as they are, to uphold important environmental protections; and 53 obsolete regulations will be repealed. There will also be a new drive to introduce smarter implementation on the ground. Full details of the package are available to read here.

The proposals will both ensure protection of the environment and benefit a wide range of businesses, particularly small and medium sized firms. Businesses told the Red Tape Challenge they were particularly frustrated by the amount of red tape and paperwork needed to deal with their waste and the amount of staff hours responsible companies are spending dealing with bureaucracy and inspections.

Robert Hunt, Executive Director of at Veolia Environmental Services and sector champion for the Environment theme, said: “I’m delighted that so many businesses have contributed to this unique opportunity to ease the burdens placed on industry by some overly complex and unnecessary environmental regulations. Protecting the environment and the resources it provides is good for business and vital for economic growth, so it has been our primary goal to ensure that important regulations were not weakened by this process. The package of changes we have secured will make a real difference to business while upkeeping the environmental protections we all want to see remain.”

Relevant Links

Read the Defra Press Notice here.

See full details of the Environment package here.

Read the DECC Press Notice in relation to the Climate Change Act and Emissions Trading System here.

Environment Red Tape Challenge comment pages can be found here.

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