HC Deb 27 November 1992 vol 214 cc888-9W
Mr. Sproat

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he will list the main measures of deregulation, or simplification of regulation, which his Department has carried out, or caused to be carried out, since 9 April;

(2) if he will list the main measures increasing regulation in any area for which his Department has responsibility, which his Department has caused to be put into effect since 9 April.

Mr. Redwood

Following a major review, new building regulations came into force on 1 June which completed the change from rigid mandatory rules to broad functional requirements. This, together with the revision of the associated technical guidance, allows greater freedom and a more flexible approach for designers and building control authorities. We have also issued, jointly with the Home Office, a new guide for fire safety and building regulations as part of a deregulation initiative to simplify procedures for building work to which the separate systems of building control and fire regulations apply.

A number of planning regulations have been introduced since the last general election to implement the Planning and Compensation Act 1991; they have replaced or updated previous controls or were broadly neutral in the mix of new controls and deregulation. In addition, two new regulations have been introduced—The Town and Planning (Demolition of Buildings) Direction 1992 and the Planning (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 1992—and a new deregulation measure—the Town and Planning (Simplified Planning Zones) Regulations 1992.

New statutory instruments are being made mainly in the course of implementing the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and in particular establishing the new council tax system. It is of course hoped that the new system will be simpler for authorities and for the public than the community charge system.

The Local Authorities (Capital Finance) (Amendment) (No. 3) Regulations 1992 give temporary permission for local authorities to spend the whole of the capital receipts which they obtain between 13 November 1992 and 31 December 1993, subject to a few exceptions.

New licensing regulations governing the release of barn owls into the wild have been laid and will come into effect on 1 January 1993.

In addition, the Government have announced a change of approach with a new general presumption in favour of the use of economic instruments rather than the traditional regulation to deliver environmental goals.