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16/01/14 17:10

Protection for people, jobs and the environment

Regulatory Reform Bill clears final parliamentary hurdle.

Legislation to create more business friendly regulations in Scotland today secured Parliamentary approval.

The Regulatory Reform (Scotland) Bill will streamline and make the development and application of regulation more effective by introducing a number of measures.

These include:

* Powers to make the delivery of regulation more consistent and help address delay or duplication.

* Implementing a new duty for regulators to contribute to sustainable economic growth supported by a Code of Practice.

* A primary authority scheme allowing businesses to receive tailored support from local authorities in relation to regulation.

* A new integrated framework for environmental regulation, to help simplify procedures for the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and businesses.

* New enforcement tools to allow SEPA and criminal courts to better tackle environmental crime and be tougher with those who disregard their environmental obligations and measures to extend protection against intimidation or physical assaults to SEPA officers.

* Improving the performance of planning authorities by establishing a link between planning fees and performance.

* Speeding up the process of resolving legal challenges so the number of delays to offshore marine energy projects is reduced.

Enterprise Minister Fergus Ewing said: “I believe we have a Bill that will further our efforts to make Scotland the most competitive business environment in the Europe and concurrently bring benefits to our environment and communities.

“This Bill will streamline and make regulation more effective. We have consulted with businesses and regulators who have taken the time to share their knowledge and views during the scrutiny process.

“Regulation is essential. It protects people, communities and our environment. It ensures a fair business environment for our firms and I am certain the Bill will help them to flourish and create jobs.”

Minister for Environment and Climate Change Paul Wheelhouse said: “This Bill takes forward our commitment to better environmental regulation and makes a key contribution to the Scottish Government’s purpose of increasing sustainable economic growth.

“Scotland’s environment is a vital national asset that is worth protecting; not only because of its beauty and contribution to our national identity, but also because it is vital to our economy’s success and the health and wellbeing of both our people and our wildlife.

“The way that SEPA works with business and other stakeholders can make a direct contribution to Scotland’s business environment. It’s clear that a healthy environment is integral to having a healthy economy. This Bill, which will bring efficiency gains to SEPA and to business, demonstrates the value in achieving this balance.”