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BMW question the value of environmental legislation

Car manufacturer BMW hit out at the “time wasting bureaucracy and administrative burden” of environmental legislation last week.

Speaking at the launch of its first UK environmental report, BMW Group UK director of environmental affairs Roger Twiney said the company welcomed new environmental regulations when they were “timely, non-bureaucratic, appropriate and effective”. But continued: “Sadly, this is all too often not the case”.

He accused the government of completely ignoring the lead times needed by industry to respond to new regulations, citing the new waste control regime introduced in July. Guidance for its detailed implementation was only available at the same time the regulations had to be implemented, he said.

Similarly, he said a BMW application for a new polluting processes permit submitted to its local authority in 2003, had resulted in a notification from the Environment Agency (EA) at the beginning of this year which said it was reviewing its interpretation of the regulations. It therefore said BMW may have to submit a new application directly to the EA, by March 2006. Twiney said: “So, here we sit, three months before the closing date with the issue still unresolved. There is still no agreed interpretation of the regulations. How can we do any budget planning? How can we do any manpower planning?”

He spoke of the financial burden of the packaging regulations that require companies to purchase Packaging (Waste) Recovery Notes (PRNs) in order to cover their packaging obligations. He said:
“We believe that the costs of calculating our obligations are four to ten times the value of the PRNs.”

BMW estimates that it currently bears a cost of £100,000 a year to cover the administration for environmental legislation, and fears smaller companies cannot afford to. “And if this is the case, what value is the regulation?” Twiney asked.

But Twiney added that BMW welcomed the recent initiatives by the European Commission and the UK Government to achieve better regulation, and believed their success was essential.

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