Chemicals companies should be penalised if they do not comply with regulations, but rewarded for improvements and voluntary environmental initiatives, said industry spokesman.
Chemicals companies should be penalised if they do not comply with regulations, but rewarded for improvements and voluntary environmental initiatives, according to an industry spokesman.
Stephen Elliot, director business environment for the Chemical Industries Association told a workshop at the Environment Agency’s (EA) 2005 conference, ’we feel, as an industry, that the cumulative impact of regulation is becoming intolerable’. He added that the Better Regulation Executive, created by the UK government’s cabinet office in May 2005 provides a good opportunity for government departments to work together to resolve the problem.
If, as an outcome, a lighter regulatory touch is used, industry must recognise that a tougher financial penalty should follow non compliance, said Elliot. Barbara Young, chief executive of the EA said that faster penalties for companies breaking regulations should also be considered.
The EA has introduced sector plans, outlining environmental, economic and social objectives for industry over the next five to 15 years. ’Let’s not regard regulation as outdated,’ said Young. Regulation works and needn’t be seen as a deadweight for business she said. ’It is no coincidence that the economies in the world that are richest are also most highly regulated,’ said John Harman, EA chairman.
The chemical industry sector plan and the EU’s Reach (registration, evaluation and authorisation of chemicals) policy, will make the industry assess how safe its products are, which Elliot said would be a ’significantly difficult operation’. He welcomed part of the sector plan that recognises voluntary measures taken by industry to improve environmental impact. ’We would like to see recognition and public voicing for improvements and well-managed businesses,’ he said. Katharine Sanderson