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SMEs show green intent but lack regs know-how

A YouGov survey has found that small business owners are concerned about the environment but many admit they arent familiar with the relevant industry regulations.

Government website NetRegs commissioned the survey, which found that 74% of small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) polled felt good environmental practice was important. While 79% said they knew more about environmental issues than they did five years ago.

A huge majority, 86%, said it was important to comply with environmental regulations for waste disposal but 67% viewed waste disposal as a problem for their business.

Despite a positive attitude to environmental responsibility, the survey found that many SMEs were unaware of their obligations. Sixty per cent admitted that they werent familiar with any of the environmental regulations that apply to their industry.

This, in part, supports evidence from another recent survey commissioned by the London Assemblys Environment Committee ( June 18). It found that SMEs lack facilities, advice and motivation to manage waste. However, it also said that 42% of the London SMEs polled highlighted the need for recycling facilities.

The YouGov results showed that 86% of SMEs felt it was important for their employed contractors to dispose of waste properly and 53% would choose a legislation compliant contractor over one who isnt, even if the cost was higher. However, 66% said they would not always check that their contractors complied.

Federation of Small Businesses environmental chairman John Holbrow said: This research shows small businesses understand they need to take their environmental obligations seriously. We encourage small businesses to use NetRegs for clear guidance on regulation and the waste directory to find local licensed recycling sites.

NetRegs programme manager Richard Martin said: This research shows that small businesses are taking their environmental responsibilities seriously and they expect the businesses they work with to do the same.

But too many are still unaware that NetRegs gives them the information and guidance they need to clean up their business practices and meet their environmental obligations.

NetRegs is a free, confidential service that provides information to small and medium-sized businesses on environmental regulations. It is a partnership between the Environment Agency (England and Wales), Environment & Heritage Service (Northern Ireland) and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

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