Defra's red tape review to evaluate mandatory GHG reporting
Mandatory greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting for companies could soon be scrutinised, under the UK Government's Smarter Guidance and Data review.
As part of the review, the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is running a short consultation on potential reforms, one of which challenges the UK's newly-implemented carbon reporting policy.
The guidance and data review is an initiative to reconsider information that businesses submit to Defra and its regulators.
Its central aim is to ensure that UK businesses are required to submit only essential data, and that the process is made as simple as possible.
Industry has raised concerns over how soon after its introduction, which was announced in June 2012 by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, the policy is being evaluated.
Commenting on the consultation, Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment (IEMA) policy and practice Lead Nick Blyth, said: "Our members are likely to be very concerned to hear that Government is so quickly reviewing its own new policy. The benefits of reporting are now well understood and critically arise over a medium term.
"GHG reporting will deliver significant benefits and the reporting regulations encourage and enable all included companies to manage their long-term environmental challenges. A wholesale review of this policy at such an early stage would be highly questionable," he added.
Under the 'smarter guidance and data review', independent experts have recommended that mandatory carbon reporting should be "allocated resource to ensure the scheme is reviewed in 2015, rigorously examine success against policy objectives. Engage companies during the process to clearly appreciate business impact. Revoke the requirement if benefits are not realised".
Blyth said: "It is concerning to see this reform proposal so quickly after the introduction of the scheme. The review makes no reference to Defra's existing commitment to positively review the policy in 2015 in order to consider extending the regulation to all large companies.
"Also, we would question inclusion of mandatory carbon reporting within the 'smarter data' review as it is not itself a requirement to report data to Defra or to other Government Departments or Agencies," said Blyth.