Three quarters of manufacturers want green policies reformed

As many as 73% of manufacturers want to see legislative reform of the UK's current environmental and climate change policies, according to a new survey by the manufacturers organisation EEF.

Respondents claimed that existing regulations are harming their international competitiveness.

There are at least 10 pieces of legislation affecting manufacturers on waste alone, with another five key pieces of legislation that relate to energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.


The Government, in contrast, says it has saved business £1.5bn in the last four years through its Red Tape Challenge, which aims to simply and abolish unnecessary regulation.

Specifically David Cameron pledged to slash 80,000 pages of environmental guidance and has introduced a one-in-two-out rule, to gradually reduce the cost of compliance.

However, manufacturers surveyed by EEF say these efforts have made little difference. Only 7% said the changes had saved their company time and 9% said they had saved their company money.

Terry Scuoler, the CEO of EEF, said: Our report shows that manufacturers remain committed to addressing environmental and climate concerns, but are still having to wade through unnecessary levels of complexity and red tape in order to do so, which in too many cases is holding them back.

“The previous government got off to a good start in identifying the roadblock caused by poor legislation and began to take steps to simplify the stock of guidance and legislation in this area.

“There is, however, a real appetite in the sector for bolder reform that increases fairness, creates markets and improves the environment without damaging competitiveness, impeding innovation or creating barriers to trade, investment and efficiency. “

Clear aims

The report said that the Government should aim to have one single repository, the website, for all guidance and that there should be a single source of guidance on each environmental theme (i.e. waste, water, air, climate change, energy efficiency) which covers all relevant legislation.

“While it may not always be possible, the starting point should be to have just one piece of legislation”, added the report.

“Manufacturers are looking to government to establish a stable structure for environmental legislation: a single framework act with individual annexes detailing minimum requirements in each specific area.”

This would ideally be supported by a range of enabling mechanisms (for example, fiscal incentives, innovation support, and procurement standards) to encourage companies to go further.

Earlier this year, EEF’s senior climate and environment policy adviser told edie that large UK manufacturers could be forced to move their operations overseas if countries cannot agree a unilateral cap on emissions at the Paris climate talks, thanks to the burden of environmental regulation.

Brad Allen

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie