Press release

Improved environment guidance for businesses

UK businesses and the public are being asked to send ideas on how environmental rules and regulations can be made more straightforward.

Businesses could save more than £1 billion over 10 years if environmental guidance were easier to find and follow, Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said today.

Starting today, UK businesses and the public are being asked to send ideas on how volumes of environmental rules and regulations can be drawn together and made easier to find. This will make it easier and cheaper for businesses to comply with regulations.

Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Owen Paterson, said:

This is not about reducing the quality of environmental regulations. The same protection levels will stay. We want to make it easier for businesses to find and follow the law with a single version of straightforward guidance for each topic. Right now businesses are wading through too much complex information. We should also be smart about the information we ask from businesses and how we collect it.

Taking up too much of businesses’ time can be an unseen barrier to growth. With clearer, simpler guidance we can save a great deal of time and money for businesses to put to better use. As we implement these reforms we will be asking you to tell us how we can make it easier for businesses to do their part in improving the environment.

Regulation has an important role to play in improving the environment and more user-friendly guidance is needed to ensure the requirements of these regulations can be met easily.

An outcome of the Red Tape Challenge, these reforms could reduce the time spent by businesses by 80%, and could save the UK economy more than £1billion over the next 10 years.

Environment, Energy and Water Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, Allen Creedy said:

Small businesses want to play their part in the move to a greener economy but they are often disproportionately affected by complicated environmental regulation. That is why the Federation of Small Businesses supports Defra’s Smarter Regulation review.

Initiatives like this can go a long way to easing the administrative cost of and the time it takes to comply with regulation. It can help to create a win-win situation ensuring small firms respect the environment while generating much needed growth for the economy. We would look forward to working with Defra on the implementation of the Review.

To help us make significant progress on these reforms over the next year we’ll be asking people to get online and give us their views on how guidance and information requirements can be made more straightforward across a number of areas including waste, wildlife protection, environmental permits and land management. We will also publish draft pieces of guidance and ask for comments on how they can be improved.

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