Cranfield research supports smarter environmental regulation

Posted: Wednesday 17th July 2013

Research from Cranfield University is providing valuable scientific evidence to support the vital need for better designed and more user-friendly ‘smarter environmental regulation’.

Environmental regulation has an important role to play in protecting consumers, employees and the environment but has become increasingly complex, often deterring businesses that would otherwise be keen to help improve practices through new initiatives.

“Businesses could save more than £1 billion over 10 years if environmental guidance were easier to find and follow”, Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said in a statement in May at the launch of the Government’s Red Tape Challenge, which aims to reduce the burden of regulation, both legal and environmental.

Cranfield’s work for Defra on Rapid Evidence Appraisals (REAs) – a tool for aiding comprehensive understanding of available research evidence on a policy issue in a short timescale – has provided influential advice on critical aspects of policy design.

A second research project for SNIFFER, a Scottish charity delivering knowledge-based solutions to resilience and sustainability issues, provided content for an online knowledge exchange portal that aims to help better identify needs, aid communication between stakeholders and make evidence more accessible to policymakers, regulators and other users.

Simon Pollard, Professor of Environmental Risk Management at Cranfield University, commented: “We are building a valuable evidence base for businesses on smarter environmental regulation. Regulation is important, and smarter regulation will be better able to secure positive outcomes for the environment, for industry and for the public purse. Public confidence in these alternatives to regulations is also critical. There is a need for clear communication on the reasons for novel approaches to regulation, and regulators mustn’t weaken their powers to deliver penalties when required.”

These projects, completed with, and for, partner organisations are the latest in a series of publications and practitioner reports produced by Cranfield University on better environmental regulation. The reports help Government and its agencies develop a coherent mix of measures to improve environmental performance.




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