The Government has committed something of a U-turn on climate change after UK Energy Minister Charles Hendry last week announced that the Government will scrap 85 environmental regulations in a move which could save UK businesses some £400m in the next 20 years.
In addition to scrapping 85 regulations, Mr Hendry announced that the Government will reform 48 others as part of the UK Government's 'red tape challenge'.
The 'red tape challenge' was laid out by the Coalition Government and the cabinet office in 2010. The aim of the challenge is to reduce the level of bureaucracy which affects businesses and the public.
The Government has even created a website to allow citizens to inform them of regulations which hinder people in their everyday lives.
Speaking to announce the reduction in red tape, Mr Hendry attempted to reinforce the fact that environmental protection remains at the heart of government policy.
"It is vital that we have a regulatory regime which promotes fairness and consumer and environmental protection, but does not impose unnecessary costs or barriers to generating the necessary investment, innovation and skills we need to build the low carbon economy," he told Energy Efficiency News.
The areas targeted by the deregulation drive include simplification of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme and the Carbon Reduction Commitment scheme whereby carbon credits are traded by businesses within the EU.
The Government was keen to stress that the overall level of environmental protection would not be reduced by the changes to existing regulations.
The Environmental Audit Committee had previously warned that any plans to rationalise the UK's environmental regulations must not be a smokescreen to relax rules which protect our health, the countryside and wildlife.
Joan Walley is the chair of the Environmental Audit Committee.
Speaking before the announcement to cut environmental regulations she warned the Treasury: "The Treasury seems to see environmental regulations as nothing more than costly red-tape, but what we are talking about here are vital laws to give us clean air, safe food, and a thriving countryside."
UK government scraps environmental regulations to save £400 million (Energy Efficiency News)