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Manufacturers respond to government efforts to cut environmental red tape

According to the Report ‘Green Tape: Manufacturers’ Views of Progress on DEFRA’s Regulatory Reform Agenda’ produced by the Engineering Employers’ Federation (EEF), around 70% of the manufacturers responding considered the elimination of ‘green’ red tape was important to their business.

Around 40% of the respondents felt that the Government had not done enough to deregulate. Those in the rubber, chemicals and metals sectors in particular seek a trimming of environmental legislation. Whilst there is an apparent wish to address environmental and climatic concerns, the overall belief appears to be one that there remains a level of unnecessary and complicated regulation that serves to hold manufacturers back.

Whilst the Government may defend its position in that it seeks to make life easier through its regulatory culls. The benefits of reduced and better regulation are not being felt by businesses and more robust action to reform legislation and make data reporting easier is desirous. Waste alone provides at least 10 pieces of separate legislation for manufacturers to deal with.

The current consultation only closed on 14 September 2015 but it would seem that the EEF Report has already delivered a damning verdict on the Government’s efforts thus far. Only 25% of the respondents felt that the efforts have had the right focus and those saying that they have been saved time and money are negligible.

The initiative to reduce unnecessary regulation has arguably been more focused on the UK rather than the European legislation even though the latter is more prevalent. Manufacturers have said that more should be done to tackle the green red tape emanating from Europe.

The whole European debate including any proposed withdrawal from the European Union has caused some concern for the UK Environmental Lawyers Association (UKELA) as they expressed a view that such discussions require a full examination of the possible negative impact upon the environmental legal landscape and in turn the environment as a whole, should that eventuality arise.

In a similar vein there are calls for calm from the Environmental Industries Commission in that there needs to be some recognition that manufacturing and environmental risks are complicated. It follows that a degree of complex regulation is unavoidable if the environment is to be protected. 

Increased fairness, market creation and environmental improvement without impediments to innovation, trade, investment, efficiency and competitiveness are the understandable objectives of the manufacturers.

The next stage of the simplification process with the publication of the response to the consultation is awaited with great interest.

Key Contact

John Davies