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Outrage Over Move To Slash Green Guidance

A NEW move by the government to scrap or amend thousands of environmental regulations for businesses has been strongly condemned by the UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC).
The prime minister David Cameron says he wants to cut 80,000 pages of environmental guidance by March 2015, a move he claims would save business millions of pounds a year.
Paul King, chief executive of the UK-GBC, reacted angrily, telling Construction News: ‘The prime minister’s boast of slashing 80,000 pages of environmental guidance is utterly reprehensible.
‘It is the same poisonous political rhetoric from Number 10, devaluing environmental regulation in a slash-and-burn manner. These words are not only damaging and irresponsible, but misrepresent the wishes of so many modern businesses, both large and small.’
Last December, the prime minister caused a storm after announcing plans to cut ‘green levies’, including those behind the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO).
Mr Cameron said the government would support housebuilders by cutting more than 100 ‘overlapping and confusing’ standards applied to new homes to fewer than 10, a move he said was estimated to save housebuilders around £60m per year.
At the time Mr King warned that going after the ECO in a bid to cut household energy bills could end up costing 10,000 construction and insulation jobs. He said the move would decimate the very industry that is helping people, including some of the most vulnerable in society, reduce their bills in the long-term.
However, Stewart Baseley, chief executive of the Housebuilders’ Federation (HBF), reportedly welcomed the PM’s commitment to cutting red tape.
He said: ‘Bureaucratic costs and delays have been a big constraint on housing supply.’
Mr Baseley added that the HBF hoped to see ‘significant reductions in the regulatory burden imposed on developers’.
Forum of Private Business head of policy Alexander Jackman said: ‘The government has done a solid job in tackling the overall number of regulations out there and we congratulate ministers on that’.
In reaction, Mr King said: ‘We remain concerned, however, that this self proclaimed radical and fundamental review of the entire framework of building regulations will create considerable uncertainty that is more likely to slow down housing delivery than speed it up.
‘While we do believe that there is room for improvement in terms of rationalising the current range of voluntary standards, this must not be at the expense of delivering high quality, sustainable homes fit for the future.’
He also warned that the government review ‘had gone from being a sensible look at rationalising and updating voluntary standards for house building, to a full blown de-regulation frenzy’.
n Last year Mr Cameron also pledged to ‘kill off the health & safety culture’, which he said was harming the UK economy. Health & safety, he said, had become an ‘albatross around the neck of British businesses’.
In response TUC general secretary Brendan Barber called the prime minister ‘out-of-touch’. Mr Barber added: ‘Workers will be astonished by the claim that there is an excessive health & safety culture.
‘The truth is that two million people in the UK have an illness or injury caused by their work, the vast majority of which could have been prevented had their employer taken the correct safety precautions’.

This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them at www.contractflooringjournal.co.uk.