Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Victoria's Green Matters - 22nd March 2012

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:
 Our ‘greenest government ever’ is proposing to remove legislation that protects our environment through acting to cut so called ‘red tape’. That money comes first should be no surprise where this government is concerned. They even label the costs of environmental and social legislation as ‘ridiculous’.

The government has a ‘red tape challenge’ (RTC) – nothing wrong with that, I hear you say and everyone would agree that much more common sense is needed where legislation is concerned. To use this proposal to attack laws that protect the air we breathe, landscape management and wildlife is unbelievable. The European Union’s (EU) Habitats Directive is a specific target for George Osborne and this means that our rarest and most threatened wildlife will no longer be protected to the same degree.

We have stringent rules regarding the removal of asbestos, an extremely dangerous material, and together with rules limiting industrial air pollution with dust, smoke and grit, are due to be ‘reviewed’. Wildlife and the countryside do not escape – twenty regulations are also listed.

There is, of course, no guarantee that these changes will save businesses the £1billion George Osborne claims but it could be devastating for the environment if these regulations, most of which are recent, are changed.

We can only hope that public opinion will cause the chancellor to think again and the list of 174 regulations which he plans to scrap, merge or liberalise will go the same way as the plans to privatise our woodlands one year ago.

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