Headlines: October 6th, 2005

Defra is asking for feedback on plans to increase the fees that local authorities charge for carrying out pollution control checks. Ministers also want views on the suggestion that charges are based on a business’s environmental impact.The proposed changes to fees and charges relate to two key pollution control regimes, local air pollution and control and local authority integrated pollution prevention and control. The fees would rise by 2.5 per cent next year. Local authorities regulate a number of industrial processes, carrying out inspections, issuing permits and imposing conditions. Up to date they have issued around 17,000 permits.

In addition to the increases, which are part of the annual review process, Defra is proposing that companies should pay according to the environmental impact of each of their installations and be charged according to operator performance. Ben Bradshaw, the Minister for Local Environmental Quality said this risk-based approach would be a smarter and fairer way to regulate business.

“As well as providing a financial incentive on industry to reduce pollution, a risk based approach is in line with the ‘polluter pays’ principle,” he said. He added that it would prevents the costs of regulating sites falling on the taxpayer and avoid having better run, lower risk installations subsidising other premises.

Comments on the Defra proposals can be emailed to pgnotes@defra.gsi.gov.uk or sent by post. The consultation closes on December 23rd.