Environmental campaigners angry as green laws labelled as red tape
All of Britain’s 278 environment laws under review, including National Park, Clean Air and Climate Change Acts
Environmental campaigners have condemned the coalition’s inclusion of all of Britain’s 278 environmental laws in a list of “red tape” regulations considered by the public for the axe.
The Wildlife and Countryside Act, National Park Act, Clean Air Act and the Climate Change Act are among the packages of environmental safeguards included in the “red tape challenge” – a crowdsourcing exercise launched by the government to establish which regulations restrict business in the UK.
All of the UK’s more than 21,000 pieces of regulation are included on the government’s website for an evaluation. Users are told only the issues of tax and national security are exempted. Participants are assured the “onus” will be on ministers to make the case for keeping a regulation recommended for cutting.
The inclusion of environmental legislation has alarmed green groups. John Sauven, director of Greenpeace, said: “We don’t yet know if this is cock-up or conspiracy. If it’s a cock-up, David Cameron needs to come out and say the Climate Change Act, central to the push for a clean technology revolution, is safe from the axe. But if ministers are serious about scrapping it and other vital environmental regulations then we’ll be looking at something akin to the worst excesses of the Bush-Cheney White House. When did clean air and green jobs become a burden?”
Environmental campaigners also expressed alarm that the authors of the website suggested the government no longer thought issues of climate change to be of national security. In 2009, William Hague, then shadow foreign secretary, said climate change was “not simply an environmental and developmental concern but an urgent foreign and national security concern”.
A source from the business department said the exercise was not simply an audit of which regulations should be cut. Rather, it was an attempt to find out the public sentiment and ideas on all red tape, for better or worse. Their responsibility was to business as much as to those concerned about the environment, the source added. (Guardian)