A major campaign to reverse funding cuts to enforcement agencies has kicked off with support from CIEH.
The Unchecked UK campaign, set up by environmental charity the Ecology Trust, claims that the local and national enforcement teams that help keep everyone safe have been slowly eroded.
A report published at the campaign launch – The UK’s Enforcement Gap – argues that major regulators are, on average, operating with 50% less funding than ten years ago. These regulators include the Food Standards Agency and the Environment Agency.
Unchecked UK adds that strong rules help to ensure that our air and water are kept clean, that our food is safe and correctly labelled, that green spaces are looked after, and that the most vulnerable in society are protected.
According to the campaign, strong rules “allow us to get on with all the things we want to do in life, secure in the knowledge that ourselves and our loved ones are safe. They are part of what we have come to expect, and it’s common sense to maintain them.”
While most businesses follow the rules, rogue operators exploit any gaps in enforcement and put public safety at risk.
Unchecked UK believes that these unchecked rogue businesses harm society and tarnish their industry’s reputation – as illustrated by banking scandals, the financial crisis, the horsemeat scandal, Volkswagen fiddling their emissions tests, fly-tipping and waste crime, the pollution of our rivers and the persecution of wildlife.
CIEH is among 20 organisations backing the campaign, which wrote to The Times newspaper at the end of August with a warning about the destructive nature of these cuts to enforcement agencies.
Among the other groups backing the campaign are: Friends of the Earth, Green Alliance, Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, Sustain, Hazards UK and the New Economics Foundation.
Sustain chief executive Kath Dalmeny said: “We all rely on independent enforcement teams to ensure that our food is safe, fit to eat, free from contamination and genuinely contains what it says on the label. This will become ever more important and challenging as the UK opens up to new trade deals and food imports.”
The Hazards UK campaign said: “We support Unchecked UK because we want the hard-fought for protective laws – intended to keep us safe at work, at home, in the environment and community, when eating, drinking and breathing, and when using products and services – to be properly enforced.”
Find out more
Twitter: @unchecked_uk (#unchecked)