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Sustainable and responsible business

BEST project on streamlining of environment related regulatory requirements for companies

Simplifying the implementation of environmental regulation

As part of its role in promoting growth and jobs, and better regulation DG Enterprise and Industry organised a conference in Brussels on 22 June 2006 to present the results of research to identify initiatives which will streamline and simplify environment-related regulatory requirements for companies.

Better regulation

The creation of a friendly regulatory environment for starting up and developing innovative businesses, particularly small and medium-sized companies, is fundamental to the Lisbon Strategy to create more jobs and generate growth in the EU. Continuous efforts are needed to lower unnecessary costs of doing business and to remove red tape. At EU level, the Commission set out several priority actions in its Communication on Better Regulation for Growth and Jobs in March 2005 to further promote the design and application of better regulation tools at the EU level:

  • working more closely with Member States to ensure that better regulation principles are applied consistently throughout the EU by all regulators.
  • Action at EU level alone will not be enough: the transposition of EU legislation by the Member States and national regulatory initiatives have a direct effect as well, not just on national administrations and on citizens but also on businesses, particularly SMEs, from across the Union.
  • By reinforcing the constructive dialogue between all regulators at the EU and national levels and with stakeholders.

At national level, many European countries have recently launched initiatives to reduce administrative burdens on both the public and private sector and the European Commission has put better EU regulation and the simplification of existing EU laws at the forefront of its work programme for the next five years.

For more information, please see:

Environment Regulation: Streamlining Initiatives

In the field of environment regulation, European companies face many different environment-related regulatory requirements in relation to permits, monitoring, reporting and inspection (as a result of both EU and national legislation). These requirements are necessary for the effective operation of legislation in place to protect the environment.

However, many such requirements have been introduced over time and insufficient attention has been paid to their overall coherence, their proportionality and the accumulation of administrative burdens and costs.

Many countries are therefore putting measures in place to streamline environment-related requirements. These measures take a variety of forms and there is considerable scope for learning from good/best practices which could help promote the introduction of more effective streamlining policies in the EU.

BEST Project Objective

The BEST project on the Streamlining and Simplification of Environment-Related Requirements on Companies is carried out within the context of DG Enterprise and Industry's Best Procedures which provide a funding tool to meet the Commission's strategic aim of creating a business-friendly environment in the EU. BEST reports help focus high-level political attention on key issues to bring about concrete changes in national policies to improve the business environment.

This BEST Project will analyse both national and, where relevant regional, initiatives to streamline and simplify environment-related regulatory requirements and to improve their cost-effectiveness, their proportionality and coherence.

The aims of the BEST project are therefore to:

  • identify good/best practices from the variety of existing national/regional simplification and streamlining measures and provide policy-makers with an overview of experiences in the EU to encourage the development of further administrative simplification policies.
  • identify criteria for good/best practices in the field of administrative simplification with regard to the implementation of environment policy and legislation.
  • where possible, identify elements for success, that is to provide information on the conditions necessary for cost-effective and proportionate requirements to fulfil the environment objectives.
  • make recommendations to the EU, Member States and business stakeholders.

Project Fiche, July 2004 pdf - 25 KB [25 KB]
Project Discussion Paper final, December 2004 pdf - 95 KB [95 KB]
Project Work Plan, Final, December 2004 pdf - 30 KB [30 KB]

BEST Expert Group

A BEST Expert Group was established in autumn 2004, composed of representatives from the Commission, from national/regional authorities, environment and industry ministries, an SME business associations and an environment NGO.

The expert group will be fully involved in all stages of the project, providing information on their national and regional initiatives as well as working with the consultant to develop and agree the recommendations on the best approaches/measures to streamline and simplify environment legislation.

It will be the task of the consultant to develop the evaluation criteria to identify the good/best practices and to draft recommendations on the conditions of success to regulate companies more effectively and efficiently.

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