News story

DECC to scrap unnecessary regulations as part of the Red Tape Challenge

As part of a drive to cut red tape burdens, Minister of State for Energy, Charles Hendry, has announced the scrapping of 86 regulations and …

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

As part of a drive to cut red tape burdens, Minister of State for Energy, Charles Hendry, has announced the scrapping of 86 regulations and a further 48 improved regulatory regimes, whilst keeping protections as strong as ever. Coupled with other reforms, DECC’s overall reform package is estimated to deliver businesses savings worth around £400 million over the next 20 years.

Minister of State for Energy, Charles Hendry, said:

“Energy is vital to the economy and essential to driving growth. It is also the biggest infrastructure sector in the UK. Our reforms aim to stimulate over £100bn of new investment in the electricity sector and could support around 250,000 total jobs in electricity to 2030. 

“It is therefore vital that we have a regulatory regime which promotes fairness and consumer and environmental protection, but does not impose unnecessary costs or barriers to generating the necessary investment, innovation and skills we need to build the low carbon economy.  

“The Red Tape Challenge has provided the opportunity to ensure we continue to meet these objectives.  We have listened to our stakeholders as they suggested regulations which add cost or complexity without effectively leading to protections, and I am pleased to announce that DECC will scrap or improve 134 regulations.”

Supporting today’s announcement, Terry A’Hearn, Regulation Lead of the Aldersgate Group said:

“We welcome the Government’s work in cutting back excessive and outdated regulation, whilst ensuring that protection of our environment remains as strong as ever.

“Smart regulation corrects market failures, drives innovation and provides the foundation for long-term economic growth, jobs and competitiveness and we congratulate DECC’s recognition of the importance of prioritising these long-term outcomes.”
David Porter, Chief Executive of Energy UK, said:

“We commend DECC for removing redundant legislation and for modifying a number of overly complex regulations. We are facing a huge challenge in reforming our electricity market, and this is a step in the right direction in creating a market structure that will help to deliver the jobs and investment we need, but this must be part of an on-going process.

“We would urge DECC to continue to remove unnecessary red tape, and to continue to improve legislation, as getting future energy policy right is more critical than ever.”

Together with DECC’s simplifications to the European Emissions Trading Scheme and the Carbon Reduction Commitment regimes, this will help businesses save around £400m over twenty years. Examples of regulations that DECC are scrapping or improving are:

  • The Offshore Chemicals Regulations 2002 (amended 2011) - which establish a regime for controlling the use and discharge of chemicals from offshore installations - will have requirements streamlined to improve functionality and reduce costs for installation operators whilst maintaining all environmental protections.   
  • Modernisation of the Electricity (Compulsory Wayleaves) (Hearings Procedure) Rules 1967 (SI 1967/450). These rules are used to resolve disputes between licence holders and landowners for the presence of overhead electric lines on private land. They will be updated to ensure the rights and interests of both sides are appropriately balanced whilst reducing the costs and other burdens on parties.
  • Improvements to the Public Gas (Transporter Pipe-line Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 1999, SI 1999/1672 will scrap duplicate requirements for companies in England to seek determination from the Secretary of State as to whether a proposed pipeline would require an environmental statement.

Ofgem have also set out how they will reduce regulatory burdens in their Simplification plan, published at the end of June.  The plan has taken Red Tape Challenge suggestions into account and includes actions to review information requests to businesses to avoid duplication, publish a schedule of future consultations and convene a roundtable group with industry and consumer representatives to review and improve consumer information on bills.

Notes to editors

  • The Red Tape Challenge was launched in April 2011 to reduce and reform the stock of regulations on the statute book.
  • Full list of regulations that will be scrapped or improved
  • This announcement compliments broader reform to the Carbon Reduction Commitment and the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme:
    • A consultation to create a new leaner, simplified and refocused CRC closed on 18 June 2012. The Government response to the consultation will be published in the Autumn. Further information on the CRC simplification consultation
    • The UK is offering small emitters and hospital installations the opportunity to ‘opt out’ from the EU ETS from 2013.
  • Further information on the Ofgem Simplification Plan
  • To date, 22 themes have been in the website ‘spotlight’, covering over 4,000 regulations. Over 28,900 public comments and over 950 private submissions to date have been received from business and the general public on how current legislation could be removed or improved.
  • Results have been announced on 12 themes so far: Retail; Hospitality, Food & Drink; Road Transport; Manufacturing; Health & Safety; Employment Related Law; Environment; Equalities; Children’s Services; Rail; now including Energy.
  • Significant commitments so far include:
    • Reforms to environmental regulation that will save business at least £1 billion over 5 years while keeping important protections;
    • A radical package of Employment Tribunal reforms that is expected to deliver £40 million of savings per year to employers;
    • Scrapping or improving 85% of Health & Safety regulations; and
    • Introduction of a universally portable Criminal Records Bureau check, which employers will be able to view instantly online from March 2013.
  • 154 deregulatory changes have already been implemented, with 76 more to come by December 2012.
  • Further information can be found on the Red Tape Challenge website
Published 7 August 2012