Environmental lobbyists ‘not to be ignored’ says Defra’s Benyon

Defra Under Secretary of State, Richard Benyon yesterday told delegates that organisations such as the Environmental Industries Commission (EIC) had a crucial part to play in the UK's economic recovery.

Speaking at a ministerial reception at the House of Commons Benyon said: “Your sector is not to be ignored, you are a massive contributor to the economy, employing nearly a million people, between you and the environmental industries together make a contribution to the UK economy that is little understood.”

“We want to make sure that you continue to play your part in the recovery of the economy and helping us in the Government deal with so many of the problems that we face in the environment.”

Benyon added that protecting the environment and business benefits went hand in hand, using examples such as the implementation of a new electronic recording system for waste transfer which is expected to save British businesses £5m a year by cutting red tape.

The minister was talking at a launch during which, the EIC officially announced its merger with the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE).

Representing nearly 200 companies, the EIC became a subsidiary of ACE three months ago.

The lobbying organisation says it will retain its independent voice and branding within ACE, as it aims to promote constructive dialogue between the regulators and the regulated in a policy-driven marketplace.

Also speaking at the launch, ACE chief executive and new chairman of EIC, Nelson Ogunshakin said the merger would allow the 600 member strong ACE to engage with the environmental side of its infrastructure business.

He added that the move was a “fantastic opportunity to work with an organisation well renowned for its lobbying skills.”

“Now we have the band width and depth that EIC bring to the table – we will be able to harness that, put more investment into it and look at how we can take EIC to the next level,” he said.

Ogunshakin noted that since the merger, the EIC headquarters had moved to Westminster, describing it as “close to the house of the decision-maker”.

Speaking to industry delegates Ogunshakin added: “Our job is to make sure we listen to you, we engage with what you and we represent you with the decision-maker, the stakeholder, and the industry so that you and your business is seen as vibrant and sustainable.”

Conor McGlone

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