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GUMMER SUPPORTS MOVES FOR CLOSER ENVIRONMENTAL DIALOGUE

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Environment secretary John Gummer has endorsed draft proposals encouraging business to involve people affected by e...
Environment secretary John Gummer has endorsed draft proposals encouraging business to involve people affected by environmentally-sensitive decisions more closely in the decision making process.

The proposals, which are outlined in draft guidelines published today by the Advisory Committee on Business and the Environment (ACBE), would encourage businesses to consult local residents, environmental groups and other interested parties before taking environmentally-sensitive decisions, such as waste disposal or expansion plans.

ACBE's guidelines propose a broad procedure for companies to deal with decisions which might be regarded as environmentally sensitive. These include: identifying potentially controversial decisions and groups that might be affected by them; discussion with interested parties before decision making; recognising the serious effect a campaign could have on their business.

However ACBE have made it clear it would be for individual companies to develop their own detailed procedures to suit their particular circumstances.

Speaking at a seminar for business leaders and environmental groups, Mr Gummer said: 'I warmly welcome this initiative from ACBE. Every day companies make decisions which affect the environment. These can provoke concern from interested parties, such as environmental groups or the local community.

'All too easily this concern can lead to conflict, which is not good for business, but often not good for the environment either.

'Open and constructive discussion between companies and all interested parties offers a more positive approach. These guidelines provide an excellent basis for developing 'best practice' as a way to avoid conflict in the future,' he said.

The guidelines for companies to engage in dialogue with interested parties were published today in Integrating the Environment into Business Decisions: The Consensus Approach. The report has been issued for consultation and comments are invited to reach the ACBE Secretariat no later than 13 December 1996. A revised version of the report will be published in the New Year. Copies of the report can be obtained from: Roz Masters, Environment Directorate, Department of Trade and Industry, 4th Floor, 151 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W 9SS. Telephone: 0171-215-1984. Fax: 0171-215-1621.

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