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Defra on track to launch simpler rules

A rewrite of environmental regulations affecting businesses, as part of ongoing efforts to make them easier to follow, will be completed by March 2015.

The date has been announced in a progress report on the Environment Agency’s (EA) triennial review.

Defra said that, under its Smarter Environmental Regulation Review (Serr) programme, businesses will find the new system “simpler, quicker and clearer to find the information they need to be able to comply with environmental regulations”.

The report also applauded a new service set up by the EA in December 2013 to make it easier for businesses to register as lower-tier waste carriers.

It said: “By April 2014, over 13,000 customers had registered using the new service, with over 93% of those who have left feedback being ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with the service.”

One waste carrier reported back: “It is a great improvement on the former paper version. I am very pleased to have registered so easily.”

Under Serr the EA’s “high level” guidance was also moved to the new Government website, gov.uk, in April.

But while the report seemed to indicate this had been achieved successfully, many waste industry figures were frustrated at the time, with the new site criticised for being complicated to navigate with “no clear system”.

The Environmental Services Association also offered to help out after it transpired that a number of documents had gone missing.

The triennial review, published last year, recommended the EA and Natural England remain separate agencies but set out a number of action points to encourage more joint working.

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