troublespots thanks to new consultation proposals announced today by
environment minister Michael Meacher.
to decide how much time and effort they need to devote to individual
air polluting factories.
These assessments will be coupled with a safety-net minimum
inspection frequency of one full inspection a year for the lowest
A number of different risk assessment methods were devised by the
consultants behind the report being published. The favoured method
has now been trialled and has the potential to achieve:
- a reduced burden on local authorities, enabling more effective
delivery of their obligations under the best value regime, without
loss of environmental protection;
- reduced regulatory burden on business through targeting of
resources to those which pose most of a risk (whilst retaining proper
environmental regulation), without loss of environmental protection;
- an incentive for improved environmental performance;
- improved transparency and value for money for regulated
businesses, since regulatory effort and fees would better reflect the
risk to air pollution posed by individual processes or process
- improved consistency in regulation.
In launching a three-month consultation on the report, Mr Meacher
'I am enthusiastic about finding ways to make regulation more
targeted; consistent with proper environmental protection.
'This report suggests that this can be achieved for the Local Air
Pollution Control system through a risk-based approach. It is
important, however, that low-risk cases do not escape regulation as a
result of such an approach. To accompany the report, therefore, we
have drawn up draft new guidance on minimum inspection frequencies.
'This is an important initiative and I hope there will be a good
response to the consultation.'
Part I of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 established the Local
Air Pollution Control (LAPC) system. Under LAPC local authorities
regulate air pollution from some 18,000 industrial processes. LAPC
will gradually be superseded by two new local-authority regulated
regimes under the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999.
Risk & Policy Analysts (RPA) were commissioned in 2000 to look at
alternative methodologies for introducing a risk-based regulatory
approach to LAPC. They examined four options and recommended one.
This scored individual processes on a range of criteria covering
environmental impact and operator performance, arriving at a
categorisation (in terms of regulatory effort) of high, medium or
low. The former DETR consulted on their report, a copy of which is
now here .
There was general support for further evaluation of the recommended
A report on the trials, covering letter and the accompanying draft
guidance on inspection frequency can be found here .
RPA undertook the evaluation by means of trials with 14 local
authorities. A total of 173 processes were covered by the trials.
Process operators were involved, and trade associations were given
the opportunity to comment. RPA recommend that the methodology has
the potential outlined in the main body of this press notice, and
that the methodology be adopted but with a number of detailed
Comments on the report and draft guidance should be sent to
email@example.com by Friday 2 August 2002, or mailed to
Khaleda Khatun, DEFRA, 4/G10 Ashdown House, 123 Victoria Street,
London SW1E 6DE.