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Respondents urge cut in permit applications red tape

A cut in red tape around applications for environmental permits is being urged by those responding to a consultation on regulation.

The Cutting Red Tape consultation, which runs until 14 September, has been introduced by the Government in a bid to reduce business costs across the economy by £10bn through removing unnecessary regulation.

The waste sector is one of five industry areas subject to the review of “unnecessary regulation and its poor implementation” and to “identify unnecessary barriers to growth and productivity”.

One respondent on waste recommended that the Environment Agency (EA) should have a time limit to respond to permit applications, saying that if the agency finds a “missing piece of information three to four weeks later, a whole month is wasted”.

Another described responses to planning applications as “painfully slow”, saying it had an application approved in August 2014 which had still not been implemented.

Regional inconsistencies were reported by one respondent, who said: “What is OK in one region for an officer to turn a blind eye to or irrelevant, another officer will use any means possible to get a prosecution.”

Most of the 18 responses so far are anonymous, but the British Property Federation commented that some councils are wrongly classifying waste from student housing as industrial rather than residential.

Other issues raised so far included carrier bag regulations, more investment in energy-from-waste plants, waste classification, PRNs, exemptions and lack of enforcement.

Defra resources minister

Resource minister Rory Stewart (left) said at the consultation’s launch: “We have already delivered savings of just under £1m a year by removing requirements for businesses to create site waste management plans, and I hope this review will identify more barriers we can remove to open up the industry to further growth and innovation.”

But industry figures, including CIWM and ESA respresentatives, questioned the need for the review following the previous Red Tape Challenge, launched in 2011, and the Focus on Enforcement, announced in the 2012 Budget.


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