Red Tape Challenge – whom to believe?

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has published the following myth-buster:

The myth: there have been reports in the media that important environmental regulations in legislation such as the Wildlife and Countryside Act, National Parks Act, Clean Air Act and the Climate Change Act could be scrapped as part of the Government’s Red Tape Challenge.

The truth: Defra is committed to enhancing the natural environment and there are no plans to remove important environmental protections. The Red Tape Challenge is about examining and understanding the impact of regulation on the people, businesses, and communities it affects, to ensure that it is proportionate while delivering the desired outcomes.

 BUT IT’S NOT!  The consultation specifically asks people to say if they want the regulations to be scrapped.  The Cabinet Office website explains it thus:

How it works
1. We publish: Every few weeks we publish all the regulations affecting one specific sector or industry.

2. You respond: You tell us what’s working and what’s not, what can be simplified and what can be scrapped.

3. We act: Based on your feedback, we start getting rid of unnecessary red tape.

So whom do we believe – the Cabinet Office or Defra? Much as I’d like to believe Defra I feel sure the Cabinet Office is closer to the decision makers.  There’s a real risk that the legislation which brought us national parks and freedom to roam, which protects commons, greens and paths – and much else, could be scrapped or seriously eroded.

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About campaignerkate

I am the general secretary of the Open Spaces Society and I campaign for public access, paths and open spaces in town and country.
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