Environmental Services Association (ESA) has responded to the Cabinet Office's "Red Tape Challenge" for Environmental Regulations
Sam Corp, ESA's head of regulation said: "Whilst there are still opportunities to reduce unnecessary red tape, this must be achieved without putting the environment or human health at risk. It is also important that all operators, large and small, in the waste and resource management sector are working to the same high environmental standards".
Corp noted that waste regulations served vital functions both to protect the environment and human health as well as to provide certainty for investment in waste management infrastructure. He noted that implementation and enforcement of regulation was perhaps even more important to ESA's Members than cutting red tape.
The Red Tape Challenge aims to harness the experience and ideas of those who deal with regulation day-in, day-out to help the Government cut red tape. The Government is gathering thoughts on which regulations should stay, which can be merged, which can be scrapped. Ministers and government officials will then use this information to help them cut the right regulations in the right way.
"Our sector is overwhelmingly driven by regulation, which sets the standards for how waste should be managed and which sets sanctions for those who break the rules. To recover more value from waste, about £10-£20bn investment is required by our industry but to do so, we require a clear and precise legal framework and the certainty that there will be zero tolerance of environmental criminals who deliberately flout the rules.
ESA finds that delayed or overly complex implementation of regulation is where the real problem is - not the total amount of waste regulation. For example, the last minute clarification of the requirements for dual waste classification codes, or the scramble to publish the hazardous waste hierarchy guidance by the legal deadline are what frustrates ESA members."
In a final note of caution to the Government, Mr. Corp advised that whilst not strictly the subject of the Red Tape Challenge, ESA believes that the Planning system is one area where waste management facilities are persistently dogged by bureaucracy and delays.
"The planning system remains a complex and time consuming process, and presents considerable project risk for the waste management industry which can undermine the economics of new investment".
Every few weeks the Government will publish regulations relating to a specific sector - from retail to transport - and throughout the process will publish general regulations that relate to all sectors, such as those on equality or health and safety. People will come to the site and comment - and those thoughts will be collated by government officials to provide a clearer picture of which regulations should stay, which should go and which should change.
Ministers will then have three months to decide which regulations they will scrap, with the presumption that all burdensome regulations will go unless the government departments can justify why they are needed.
Find out more at: http://www.redtapechallenge.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/home/index/