Sunday, 8 May 2011

Another Gem passed to me by Jenny

Government set to relax environment laws in bid to boost jobs

The conservative-led coalition appears to be on the verge of seeking to relax up to 278 environmental laws in a desperate attempt to encourage the private sector to create new jobs to make up for its big cuts in the public sector.

Tribune understands that civil servants at Defra, the environmental ministry, have been instructed to only look at the burden of environmental requirements on business” rather than balance regulation with the benefits to widen society and the environment.

The move amounts to a major attack on the progress of combating climate change and protecting the environment – supposed to be one of the flagship policies of both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

It could, ironically, cause even more job losses since there is now a burgeoning green industry employing more than 800,000 people in Britain dependent for growth on tougher regulations of the environment.

The laws which could be relaxed include strict business restrictions in national parks, pollution laws, hazardous waste and requirements for business to meet ever rising environmental standards to conserve energy.

Ministers have tried to play down the “red tape” review, saying it is aimed at encouraging the public to comment on the necessity for 21,000 regulations governing businesses. But this looks extremely hollow in the light of the instructions sent around Whitehall.

Any move to curb environment laws would be attacked by both environment campaigners and the green industry, which lives and dies by the regulatory framework. Government intervention is a vital ingredient in the creation of the environmental markets of the future.

The campaigning group 38 Degrees has also warned environmental protection is not “red Tape”.
By David Henchke, Westminster Correspondence.

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