THE GOVERNMENT has got its sums wrong in assessing the cost of environmental regulations, says the Environmental Industries Commission.
EIC claims the government has been swayed by polluting industries' moans about the expense of complying with new regulations and has not given proper weight to their financial advantages.
'Failure to understand the economic benefits of high environmental standards, particularly to the UK environmental industry, is leading to government dragging its feet on protecting our environment, ' said commission chair Adrian Wilkes.
The lobby group says the government's 'flawed' assessments ofnew protection measures means it overestimates their cost and delays implementing them.
The UK faces action from the European Commission for being more than a year late in implementing tighter controls on volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions.
One benefit EIC claims is not properly assessed is the advantage ofa strong home market for the UK environmental technology and services industry created by environmental protection measures. This would put the UK in a strong position to exploit the $515bn (£326bn) global market.
Social benefits and cost advantages are not considered either, it claims: a study ofthe effcts of VOC pollution found the cost of damage to buildings alone was up to £354M a year.
The commission is calling for a more thorough look at:
the economic benefits of a cleaner environment
savings in mainstream industry by cutting pollution through more efficient use of resources
the impact of innovation
The EIC plans to lobby the environment committees in the House of Commons and the House of Lords and contribute to the European Union's plans for a new approach to assessing the impact ofregulation.