Government seeks advice on how to cut red tape in chemicals sector

Posted on 10 May 2012

The Government is inviting companies in the chemicals sector to register their experiences of working with national regulators and local authorities on the enforcement of the Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) regulations.

The second review for the Government’s Focus on Enforcement campaign has begun with a six week evidence gathering phase, whereby businesses involved in chemicals (manufacturing or storage) are being asked for their views through the Focus on Enforcement website, including the option to post comments on an anonymous basis.

The government are seeking suggestions on how to reduce enforcement burdens to the way these regulations are enforced. Dealing with paperwork, inspections and advice from regulators have been cited as three core areas that could be improved for manufacturers working with national regulators and local authorities.

Business and Enterprise Minister Mark Prisk said: “Focus on Enforcement will give businesses in the chemicals sector the chance to make a real difference to the way compliance and protection is achieved on COMAH sites, shaping how companies can best work with regulators in a successful and cost-effective way.”

Peter Newport, CEO of the Chemical Business Association, stated that there are heavy regulatory burdens resulting in high compliance costs that competitors in other countries do not have to deal with. “Moving towards smarter enforcement follows naturally from policies designed to develop smarter regulation,” he said.

“We are keen to see the review explore how the burden and costs of regulatory compliance can be reduced. We are also keen to see progress towards formal earned recognition for COMAH sites which supplement regulatory requirements through established industry standards – an approach which could deliver significant operational savings both for business and for the regulatory authorities concerned.”

The government, in a bid to increase its understanding of industry, has opened up the Focus on Enforcement project so that suggestions can be made as to other sectors that would benefit from a review to reduce red tape.