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EAC chair rails against deregulation

Recently appointed Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) chair Mary Creagh has criticised the Government’s waste industry deregulation drive and backed landfill tax.

Labour MP for Wakefield, Creagh criticised the Government’s current enterprise bill, which includes plans to privatise the Green Investment Bank (GIB).

She said the bill was restrictive to regulators, who would have to report on the impact of their regulation on business.

Creagh was keen point out that her party was pro-business and disputed the Government’s focus on deregulation in the name of driving growth.

“We know that good regulation – say, increasing taxes on waste to landfill or setting carbon budgets – can actually create the conditions for new businesses to enter the market, and for established companies to invest for the long term,” she said.

“Good regulation, be it from the EU or our own Government, protects the citizen from powerful interests, be they of the state or private sector.”

In July the waste industry was chosen for the Government’s Cutting Red Tape programme to shed “unnecessary regulation”. Resource minister Rory Stewart indicated that one of his priorities to help the UK waste sector was to get rid of “bureaucratic hurdles” facing businesses.

But Viridor chief executive Ian McAulay said he was “dismayed” over the Government’s drive to reduce regulation in the waste industry and called for better funded enforcement agencies.

Environmental Services Association head of regulation Sam Corp has said that cutting red tape was “not our priority”.

The EAC is a highy influential Parliamentary cross-party body. Former shadow environment secretary Creagh was appointed chair last week following a ballot at Westminster.

She said she was “thrilled” to be appointed, and pledged to “work across government for a more sustainable, less resource-intensive economy” after being nominated.

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