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Red Tape Challenge to consider environmental regulation from September

Ahead of the Government’s investigation of “burdensome” environmental regulation as part of its ‘red tape challenge’, there are concerns that Site Waste Management Plans (SWMPs) could be under threat.

The challenge aims to ease the burden of regulation on businesses by inviting stakeholders to decide on which regulations to remove and which to retain or simplify. Environmental regulation is due to come up for its three month review period in September. During this period, evidence will be collected and the Government will consider how legislation can be improved, or scrapped altogether.

A ‘star chamber’ of civil servants including Cabinet office minister Oliver Letwin, business minister Mark Prisk and special advisors, will then make recommendations, which are subject to independent review.

Environmental Industries Commission public affairs manager Sam Ibbott told MRW: “The environment sector relies more heavily on regulation than most, a lot of our member companies rely on certain regulations.”

He added: “The overarching principle is that we need this regulation. To help the Government, we’ll be collecting a portfolio of regulations that must be kept.”

Building Research Establishment director of resource efficiency Gilli Hobbs told MRW: “I’ve heard that SWMPs could be under threat, so I’ll write to Defra to provide evidence for their defence, ways in which they could be improved, for example, better links to environmental permitting. Rather than saying ‘nothing should change’, if people want to influence the process, it’s better for them to come back with constructive comments as to how things could be improved.

“The main concern is that if you’re looking at things from a financial perspective for business, some bits of legislation might not come out too well. It’s only if you look at the wider environmental and social benefits you can get an idea of the full costs and benefits of environmental legislation.”

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