Getting rid of red tape is great as long as it doesn’t make protecting the environment more difficult, warns the Environmental Industries Commission (EIC).
EIC executive chair Adrian Wilkes gave this warning as he was appointed to Defra’s ‘Red Tape Challenge Sounding Board’. The board is part of the Government’s Red Tape Challenge aimed at easing the legislative burden placed on business.
Wilkes welcomed the initiative and said the EIC has “never been a friend of red tape”. But he added that the Government needed to protect the environment from polluters - either through legislation or fiscal means – as businesses were unlikely to take the necessary measures on their own.
He added: “The Red Tape Challenge poses a potentially serious threat if it simply looks at costs to polluters and not at the wider economic benefits. The threat is not only to the future health of our environment, but also to the future health of the green economy – a vital pillar in the Government’s plans for the UK’s financial recovery.”
Wilkes said it was important that the Government listen to a wide range of interests and not just the de-regulatory body. He added that it “seems” like the Government is being inclusive and that he was “heartened” the EIC was invited to take part. The sounding board is comprised of ‘key’ industry figures including representatives from the CBI, NFU and NGOs.
Wilkes added: “I will be seeking to ensure that the focus of this exercise is about reducing the administrative burden on business in ways that do not undermine positive environmental outcomes or the demand for our industry’s technologies and services.
“EIC’s members are the green economy – it is vital that those regulations that underpin their businesses, and the high environmental standards we have come to expect, are not put at risk.”