Environmental Regulations Slashed

Environmentalists are angry over government plans to ‘cut red tape’ on rules over air, land and noise pollution and wildlife protection.  Most of you will not have noticed the latest move by the so called “greenest government ever” to undermine the environmental protection that has been introduced over the years. The news that the government are to scrap “scores of environmental regulations” (BusinessGreen, 19th March 2012, http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2161636/environmental-regulations-set-slashed) to save businesses £1bn illustrates what happens when people try to show the value of the environment in monetary terms.

 

These are the some of the reported changes:

  • The rules relating to the prevention of environmental pollution by asbestos will be scrapped.
  • The regulations covering persistent organic pollutants will be reduced.
  • The regulations ensuring the “reasonable” cleaning up of contaminated land will be reduced (because they “create a burden for the housing industry”).

Unless there is an underlying change in the understanding of the (non-monetary) value of the environment we cannot hope to begin to build a sustainable society, i.e. that all human activities must be indefinitely sustainable and must neither use resources faster than they can be replaced nor create effects or products which cannot be assimilated indefinitely by the environment.

Generations to come will struggle to cope with the dwindling resources due to the current desperate desire for economic growth at any cost. We need a drastic change in attitude that moves away from such things as airport expansion and industrialisation of our landscape to a local economy that both values and benefits from it natural environment lest we all end up living in housing estates built on contaminated land wearing dust masks to walk the dog.

David M. Davison

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