§ Lord Lofthouse
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What plans they have regarding the future administration of the EC Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS). [HL1006]
§ Baroness Hayman
We have decided that from 1 May this year the Institute of Environmental Assessment will take over this function from the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR), which has administered EMAS in the United Kingdom since it came into operation in April 1995. The institute will be the official Competent Body responsible for registering sites under the scheme on a fee charging basis in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. A separate announcement will be made later about Scotland.
When the DETR was designated as the Competent Body in 1994, the declared intention was to keep the arrangements simple by limiting the number of key 38WA players involved, particularly in the initial stages of setting up EMAS. EMAS has now moved beyond this developmental stage, with nearly 50 registered sites in the United Kingdom. Its effectiveness in helping industry to manage its impacts on the environment and publicise its results is becoming increasingly recognised, alongside ISO 14001, the international environmental management systems standard, which has been achieved by over 430 companies in the United Kingdom—more than anywhere else in Europe—and which can be used by any organisation, either as the environmental management system for EMAS or on its own.
The decision therefore reflects the importance which the Government attach to motivating businesses to adopt externally verified environmental management systems. The Environment Agency is firmly committed to encouraging the use of such systems because of their value in improving the environment, and we welcome its work in this respect. We will be looking to all leading companies to respond by committing themselves to EMAS and ISO 14001.