Thank you for your letter dated 28 April to Francis Maud MP, about the Red Tape Challenge. I am replying as the matter you have raised falls within my Ministerial portfolio. I sincerely apologise for the delay in replying.
The Red tape Challenge is part of this Government’s commitment to transparency and growth. It aims to tackle the burden of excessive red tape, both to free businesses to compete and create jobs, and to encourage greater freedom and personal responsibility. Our intention is to give members of the public, business and voluntary and community organisation the opportunity to comment on the entire range of regulation that might have an impact on them and to tell us which regulation is working and needed, as well as which is not or which could be simplified or better implemented.
There are six cross-cutting areas of regulation on the website, including on the environment, which sit alongside the sector-specific topics. These regulations impact on a wide variety of sectors and business types and voluntary organisations as well as citizens and employees and are therefore relevant to a large number of organisations. In order to provide a greater opportunity for the large numbers of organisations to provide feedback on how these regulatory regimes, the decision has been made to leave these areas open for comment on the website for the duration of the project. In addition, we have allocated each a 4-week slot of their own to be specifically featured on the website in order that respondents can dedicate time to debate issues in more depth. For the environment theme this is scheduled to take place in early September.
At present, the latest theme scheduled will open for comments at the end of March 2012, although other themes may be added to the list in due course.
I should stress that any proposals for change to existing regulation will receive full consideration as to whether they are proportionate, practical, beneficial and in keeping with our wide commitments and legal obligations such as European legislation. This will of course include appropriate public consultation and Parliamentary scrutiny.
I realise that the presence of environmental regulation on the Red Tape Challenge website has caused many people to be concerned. Let me assure you that the government is committed to enhancing the natural environment and there are no plans to remove important well designed environmental protections. The Government has also added text to the red Tape Challenge website to explain that the presence of a particular regulation or law on the website should not be read as implying any intention on the part of the Government to remove it from the statute book. The purpose of the exercise is to open government up to the public and to ensure that regulation is proportionate while delivering the desired outcomes.
I am copying this letter to Caroline Spelman and Chris Huhne.
Mark Prisk MP