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ESA responds to red tape cuts

Business secretary Sajid Javid has announced measures to help the Government cut £10bn of red tape following consultations which included the waste sector.

Following 182 responses to the waste review, Javid’s report says Defra will now publish ’business-focused’ guidance into the definition of waste and revised guidance for the environmental permitting regime.

Delays and unnecessary burdens associated with the permitting system cost legitimate businesses millions of pounds each year, Javid (pictured) said.

But the Environmental Services Association (ESA) said that enforcement was the key when it came to regulation.

Head of regulation Sam Corp said: “On balance, the review outlines a number of positive initiatives and commitments to remove red tape and encourage smart, proportionate and risk-based regulation of our sector.”

He praised the review for recognising the ESA’s priorities including firm enforcement of regulations and a focus on penalising criminal activities that harm the environment rather than minor technical breaches.

“While we support the reduction in unnecessary administrative burdens, these should not be at the expense of the environment and human health.

“In particular, we support the proposals to improve and speed up the permitting and ‘duly made’ process because delays have a direct negative economic impact on operators.”

Corp was pleased the Government appeared to recognise industry concerns on the fire prevention plan (FPP) guidance, a consultation which ended on 4 March after coming in for substantial criticism from wood and tyre recyclers.

He praised Javid for recognising the need to reduce overlap and duplication with obligations imposed by other organisations such as the Fire and Rescue Service, insurance companies or the Health and Safety Executive.

The ESA was not in favour of the decision to scrap registration for hazardous waste premises, but Corp said it was keen to work with the Government on implementing an electronic tracking system.

“In theory, this should improve both traceability of specific waste consignments and the ease of reporting,” he said.

He also backed Javid’s focus on improving the regulation of waste Duty of Care requirements, which the ESA is also pushing through its ‘Right Waste, Right Place’ campaign.

Javid said: “Hundreds of businesses responded to our cutting red tape reviews and we are taking decisive action based on their experiences.

“Whenever we need to introduce new rules, we will consider their impact and make savings elsewhere. Through the enterprise bill, we are extending the scope of our deregulation target to cover the actions of regulators, going further than ever before to tackle troublesome red tape.”

Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) chair Mary Creagh criticised the Government’s deregulation drive shortly after being appointed.

Viridor chief executive Ian McAulay said in September he was dismayed by the drive to reduce regulation in the waste industry and called for better funded enforcement agencies.

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