UK to Shred Over 80,000 Pages of Environmental Protections

'The Government must stop making the environment a scapegoat for the economic challenges we face,' critics warn

In a sweeping overhaul of environmental regulations in the UK, Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday announced plans to slash over 80,000 pages of laws that protect the environment against business practices.

The list of over 3,000 regulations on the chopping block--outlined in a speech at the Federation of Small Businesses Conference Monday--includes guidance on contaminated land and hazardous waste management, food labeling regulations, and building regulations such as requirements for onsite green technologies.

The overhaul, which is part of Cameron's Red Tape Challenge campaign, include proposals to "wind down" the code for sustainable homes and limit Environmental Impact Assessments for building projects, according to Naomi Luhde-Thompson from Friends of the Earth.

"Removing EIA would put the environment and people at risk," writes Luhde-Thompson, "with a far greater cost to the public of possible environmental damage.

The reason for these cuts, according to Cameron, is that they will make it "vastly cheaper" for businesses to abide by environmental rules.

"The Government must stop making the environment a scapegoat for the economic challenges we face," said Friends of the Earth's Policy and Campaigns Director Craig Bennett.

Bennett continued, "Important rules that safeguard our health and environment are being lost in this ideologically-driven war on red-tape."

In the speech, Cameron bragged that thanks to him the UK now has the "first Government in modern history to leave office with fewer regulations than when it entered."

Yet Bennett charged, "Building a strong economy and protecting the environment are two sides of the same coin - we won't build a strong, sustainable economy if we sacrifice the long term-future of our planet for short-term financial gain."


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