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Cut delays before red tape, says ESA

The waste management sector has said it is more concerned about delayed or poorly implemented regulations than cutting ‘red tape’.

The Environmental Services Association (ESA) has responded to the Cabinet Office’s ‘Red Tape Challenge’ by arguing that regulatory cuts must not come at the expense of the environment.

ESA head of regulation Sam Corp said:“While there are still opportunities to reduce unnecessary red tape, this must be achieved without putting the environment or human health at risk. It is also important that all operators, large and small, in the waste and resource management sector are working to the same high environmental standards.”

He said the sector was overwhelmingly driven by regulation, which sets the standards for how waste should be managed and which sets sanctions for those who break the rules.

“To recover more value from waste, about £10-£20bn investment is required by our industry but to do so, we require a clear and precise legal framework and the certainty that there will be zero tolerance of environmental criminals who deliberately flout the rules,” he added.

“ESA finds that delayed or overly complex implementation of regulation is where the real problem is – not the total amount of waste regulation. For example, the last minute clarification of the requirements for dual waste classification codes, or the scramble to publish the hazardous waste hierarchy guidance by the legal deadline are what frustrates ESA members.”

In a final note of caution, Mr. Corp said that although it was not the subject of the Red Tape Challenge, the planning system was an area where waste management facilities were persistently dogged by bureaucracy and delays.

“The planning system remains a complex and time consuming process, and presents considerable project risk for the waste management industry which can undermine the economics of new investment.”

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