Credit: John Goldsmith/Geograph

Manufacturers want less 'green tape'

Environmental regulations are weighing heavily on businesses, says manufacturers' association EEF.

by Adam Gale
Last Updated: 19 May 2016

A survey of British manufacturers by industry organisation EEF has revealed that businesses want less environmental regulation or ‘green tape’. The survey found 71% of manufacturers believe cutting back on green legislation would be important to their business, while 73% want to see legislative reform of environmental and climate change policies.

In other news, criminals are calling for reduced prison sentences and babies are demanding more milk...

Of course manufacturers are likely to find environmental legislation restrictive and burdensome – its very purpose is to prevent firms from seeking optimal profits at any cost to the environment. But according to EEF boss Terry Scuoler, manufacturers aren’t complaining about green policies in principle but ‘having to wade through unnecessary levels of complexity and red tape... which in too many cases is holding them back’.

The research comes weeks before the government’s consultation on how to ease the burdens associated with waste regulation. According to the EEF, 41% of manufacturers think the government’s efforts so far to cut back on green tape haven’t gone far enough, while only 9% believe they have actually saved them money.

A spokesperson for BIS defended the government’s approach to City AM. ‘We encourage any business that has issues with specific regulations and the way they are enforced to tell us more about them.’

Judging by the EEF’s research, presumably they will. Whether that will make much of a difference remains to be seen. Regulations are usually complex for a reason - the alternative is a one size policy that doesn’t always fit all – so it would be surprising if the government just slashed regulations across the board, particularly given its political commitments to the environment.

On the other hand, Sajid Javid has already declared war on red tape, and if any government is going to be heavy-handed with the scissors, it'll be this one. Even if there is a change in Westminster, however, that doesn't address those regulations that have their origins in Brussels. As these would prove far harder to cut, it may be wishful thinking to imagine a big reduction in the regulatory burden.

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