Open letter to Rt Hon Nicholas Clegg MP

Dear Mr Clegg,

Congratulations on your appointment as Deputy Prime Minister. I was pleased to read a copy of your first speech in that role, where you set out an excellent agenda for strengthening our civil liberties and repealing measures taken by the last government.

You have invited contributions of items to include in your Great Repeal Bill. As one who argued strongly over the last decade that we needed substantial repeals, to reverse the flow of law and regulation that is damaging both our liberties and our prosperity, I welcome this. I have pleasure in submitting a few examples of items that should be included in the first Bill. Many of these are taken from “Freeing Britain to compete”, the study of Economic Policy I wrote in the last Parliament. It is available as the last listed download on on the right hand side of the site. Some are taken from suggestions contributed to in my latest consultation.

1. Repeal Working Time Regulations – people should be free to work overtime if they wish. This single item was the biggest extra burden on business in the last 13 years.
2. Repeal Data Protection Act. Keep a requirement on data haolders to look after data, and keep a citizen’s right to their data and its fair handling, but eliminate the quango and licensing regime.
3. Money laundering regulations. Make them less costly and ineffective. Requiring people to supply a passport and utility bill does not stop money laundering but does create a lot of extra cost in the system.
4. Abolish compulsory Home Information Packs – as planned by the Coalition government
5. Mortgage regulation – remove the last government’s detailed mortgage regulation which clearly failed, and strengthen cash and capital regulation of banks and other mortgage providers to avoid future crashes.
6. Remove Gaming licenses for charities
7. Abolish Mandatory horse passports
8. Remove recent over the top regulation of herbal medicines
9.Opt out of Food Supplements Directive
10.Restore statutory dismissal procedures to pre 2000 position
11.Restore social chapter opt out and define UK rules in these araes
12. Repeal compulsory metrication
13. Combine disclosure to the Inland Revenue and Companies House for smaller companies – one form fits all
14 Repeal IR 35
15 Abolish Best Value regime for local government
16 Abolish Comprehensive Performance Assessment regime for Councils
17 Abolish Regional Housing Boards and regional targets
18 Abolish Regional Development Agencies
19 Repeal Legislative and Regulatory reform Act
20 Amend Waste Incineration Regulations 2002 to allow more recycling
21 Amend Health and safety regime to make it more proportionate and effective
22 Repeal Digital Economy Act 2010 cl 11-18
23 Repeal Investigatory powers Act 2000 – too intrusive
24 Repeal Charities Act 2006 – too bureaucratic
25 Repeal Labour’s Terrorism Acts and replace with simpler system which damages the civil liberties of the innocent majority less.
26 Cut the use of surveillance cameras and design safer and less congested roads and junctions instead.
27 Repeal the SI requiring 11 million people to have CRB checks before helping children.

These measures would not only restore civil liberties and free more companies to create extra jobs and compete more successfully, but they would also cut public spending on regional and regulatory overhead. More of the detail explanation is available in “Freeing Britian to compete”, pp 53-65 and pp 153-189.

The most popular repeal from contributors to my website would be to repeal the section in the Health Act that bans smoking in all public places, to allow smoking again in specified rooms and areas

Yours sincerely

John Redwood


  1. Colin Chapman
    May 23, 2010

    Let’s be sure they abolish, rather than trim, that unlovely body SEEDA, as soon as possible, which has wasted so much public money.

  2. Chuck Unsworth
    May 23, 2010

    CRB Checks are a money-making scam. They are required in a whole range of applications, are not transferrable, inevitably cause delay in employment, have not had any measurable effect on crime, and do not prevent crime. They are almost as stupid and ineffective as HIPS.

    1. Mike Stallard
      May 23, 2010

      No. They are extremely effective in deterring exactly the right people.

      1. Chuck Unsworth
        May 24, 2010

        Yet another unintended consequence, then.

      2. Q
        May 25, 2010

        And preventing people who made a silly mistake but learnt from it from getting a job they want. Also, the CRB has no idea if you use a fake name or address as they trust the countersignatory entirely.

  3. Kevin Lohse
    May 23, 2010

    Dear John. A good start to liberating the UK from Ruling by Laws to Rule of Law.

    If you want to abolish mandatory horse passports, then why not go the whole hog and remove mandatory passports for Dogs?

    1. Mark
      May 23, 2010

      As I understand it, passports for dogs are only required when they travel abroad, whereas "passports" for horses are required like ID cards simply for existing. I'm not sure what happens when they reach the glue factory or French dinner table.

  4. S Matthews
    May 23, 2010

    There is another area that needs looking at, probably under the general heading of 'thoughtcrime'.

    I think it was the Macpherson report which led to introducing the concept that if a crime was perceived to be racist, even if there was no proof, than it must be so. Of course this gives rise to ridiculous consequences, just to mention one;

    'When farmer Bryan Lee wrote a perfectly reasoned letter to Mid Devon council explaining the reasons why building a permanent camp next door to his home was not a good idea, he was told that:
    “It is policy on planning and building proposals to take no account of representations of a racist nature.
    “If the council receives any more racist representations from you, this matter will be referred to the Commission for Racial Equality or the police.”'

  5. Anon
    May 23, 2010

    >6. Remove Gaming licenses for charities

    Why can’t we go further? The Gambling Commission should just be abolished.

    I am an entrepreneur, and I’d love to bootstrap a small gambling game, but raising the £20-30k just to pay for the various licenses, and no doubt specialist legal fees, makes it a non-starter. The introduction of this regime killed some small operators, and has completely failed to attract others to come to Britain.

    Brown’s 15% Remote Gaming Duty should also be scrapped.

    I fear none of this will happen.

  6. Javelin
    May 23, 2010

    I would like to add – ensure scool publish stats on bullying and fighting. These are to be monitored by school govenors and ofsted. I believe this is a legal requirement anyway – but introducing a simple publication I believe would create the biggest reduction in disruptive attitudes and the biggest improvement in results in the history of education in this country.

  7. Tedgo
    May 23, 2010

    I would like to see the outlawing of wheel clamping, like in Scotland. Under old civil law if someone was trespassing on your property you have to give them a reasonable amount of time to remove themselves, without extorting money from them.

    If you want to stop trespassing then put up fence.

  8. Jonathan
    May 23, 2010

    I would take a different approach. Repeal pretty much everything that was introduced since 1997 except a very small list of things we want to keep.

    1. FaustiesBlog
      May 23, 2010

      Hear, hear.

  9. Tug
    May 23, 2010

    it is no surprise that most people want the Smoking ban reformed in favour of choice, after all, no one asked for the ban in the Hospitality Industry and as we have seen it has been a total failure to our Pubs and Clubs which has not only taken away the social lives of millions of people in this country but also had a massive impact on our tourism industry,which all adds up to a massive loss of revenue,so common sense Choice is the only way forward,everyone gets a choice,everyone happy.

    1. FaustiesBlog
      May 23, 2010

      Wait until the petitions act is enacted, then gain 100,000 signatures to get it debated in Parliament.

      Let's ensure that our MPs are apprised of our wish to get the petitions act enacted.

  10. Deborah
    May 23, 2010

    A very good start.

  11. Matthew Reynolds
    May 23, 2010

    Well done John ! That is an excellent set of pointless laws to kill off ! It will be magnificent to make the UK into a truly free nation once again.If a law does more harm than good then it should go -simple as that !

  12. Nick
    May 23, 2010

    So where do the public get their vote?

    For example, smoking?

    If we take Switzerland, they have voted for a ban, in a referenda.

    Would the same happen here? I suspect it would be close, but the ban would stand.


    1. FaustiesBlog
      May 23, 2010

      Nick, again, wait until the petitions act is in place. Once it is, we can get rid of the cr*p, with ease.

      1. Nick
        May 24, 2010

        Petitions are irelevant in my opinion. It's a sop.

        What is needed is referenda on all bills. We wouldn't have been in this mess if there had to be a referenda on all finance bills. Tax increase? refereda. What to get into debt? referenda.

        The secret is to get a cheap system of referenda. That system is referenda by proxy. You nominate an MP to vote for you. It then takes just one MP to get a website up and running and he will cast your vote as a proxy. Lots will choose that method. The sheep will not


  13. Nick
    May 23, 2010

    Oh, and HIPS have gone already

  14. Acorn
    May 23, 2010

    Way to go JR!!! Particularly your number 10. Restore statutory dismissal procedures to pre 2000 position.

    The Unions will no longer feel constrained by the Labour party; so it will be back to the seventies lads. The Equalities Act consolidated about half a dozen employment laws but there are a lot more to have a punt on, and I think the tickets are still free.

    BTW; the Equalities Act 2010 should be repealed as well; before its bits and pieces actually get commencement; this one is a definite job killer.

    Worth having a look at the Employment Tribunal Service statistics. The Tribunal Service is one of our fastest growing Quangos.

  15. chas
    May 23, 2010

    I agree John that the smoking ban must be one of the most hated of the thousands of new laws that the Labour Government introduced.
    I also agree that publicans should be able to allow smoking again in specified rooms and areas or to allow smoking or not. This way both smokers and non-smokers would have the freedom to choose which pubs and clubs they used.

  16. Mac
    May 23, 2010

    Also include John Prescott's extensions to the building regulations which prevent the DIY'er from doing many electrical jobs, or replacing windows, in their own, private, homes without having someone from the council come to inspect the work. If (and I mean if) there is a problem with cowboy tradesmen, treat this as a consumer protection issue, and limit regulation to "work carried out in the normal course of a business", in line with other consumer protection regulations and leave DIY out of it.

  17. Frugal Dougal
    May 23, 2010

    I agree with the CRB check abolition – all these do is give foreign paedophiles living in England a competitive edge in terms of getting access to their prey.

  18. Steve Cox
    May 23, 2010

    An excellent list, John. I hope Mr. Clegg gives it the attention it deserves.

  19. DennisA
    May 23, 2010

    1. Working Time Directive – Product of the EU

    2. Data Protection Directive (officially Directive 95/46/EC on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data) is a European Union directive which regulates the processing of personal data within the European Union.

    3. The Money Laundering Regulations 2007
    These Regulations will implement the requirements of the EU's Third Money Laundering Directive in the UK

    4. Certificate of Energy Efficiency is retained from HIPS – a product of the EU

    7. The horse passport regulations came into effect from 1st March 2005. Product of EU legislation. As usual being enhanced: The Horse Passports Regulations 2009, which implements Commission Regulation 504/2008, come into force on 1st August 2009.

    8. The Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive, 2004/24/EC, was established to provide a regulatory approval process for herbal medicines in the European Union (EU), and came into force on 30 April 2004 [1]. Previously, there was no formal EU wide authorisation procedure, so each EU member stated regulated these types of products at the national level.

    9. Food Supplements, covered by Commission Regulation (EC) 1170/2009.

    10. 4.1 European Union and Convention; 4.2 International Labour Organisation …. The employer must also follow the Statutory Dismissal Procedure (albeit with … Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003, SI 2003/1660

    11. The convergence of European Labor Laws and UK national laws is driven by the EU Social Charter.

    15. Best Value regime –
    Procurement in the public sector is mainly regulated by four Directives. They are:
    · The Works Directive (93/37/EEC, amended by the Directive 97/52/EEC, the Directive 2001/78/EEC.
    · The Supply Directive 93/36/EEC, amended by the Directive 97/52/EEC, the Directive 2001/78/EEC.
    · The Services Directive (92/50/EEC, amended by the Directive 97/52/EEC, the Directive 2001/78/EEC.
    · The Public Sector Remedies Directive (89/665/EEC, amended by the Directive 97/52/EEC, the Directive 2001/78/EEC.).

    17. Regional Housing Boards:
    While housing is not a competence of the European Union, many EU programmes do have an indirect impact on social housing and the regional level is a crucially important channel of EU resources. Currently the most important element of EU funding for social housing are the Structural Funds – the Regional Development Fund and the Social Fund – providing support mainly for infrastructure and economic development and for training, especially for disadvantaged groups.

    18. The RDAs have taken over administration of the 2007-13 programmes from the regional Government Offices (GOs). This gives SEEDA responsibility within the region for setting priorities with local partners and ensuring programmes and their objectives are implemented effectively.

    Under the new EU Structural Funds Regulations, all UK regions developed ERDF Operational Programmes, setting out their detailed plans for spending for the period 2007-2013.

    Each programme had to align with the EU’s Community Strategic Guidelines, which incorporate the provisions of the revised Lisbon Strategy for Competitiveness and Jobs, the priorities of the National Strategic Reference Framework (see below), and regional economic priorities as articulated (primarily) through the Regional Economic Strategy (RES).

    20. The (Environment) Agency will encourage the adoption of standards that go beyond those in the mandatory European incineration Directives and will ensure that the standards used in the design, maintenance and operation of incinerators are at least as good as the agreed European standards.

    21. The UK implements health and safety legislation based on European directives and/or regulations.

    23. The EU's Data Retention Directive (DRD), which the government must implement mandates ISPs to keep records for two years of every transaction that passes though their hands. The directive's purpose is not to force ISPs to retain data — the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (Ripa) kick-started that process in 2000 — but to harmonise the retention period across the EU.

    Two thirds of this list are EU inspired. They cannot be unilaterally repealed without leaving the EU. I doubt our new government are in favour of that solution to over regulation.

    1. Mark
      May 23, 2010

      The DRD was I believe entirely inspired by Labour (as was RIPA), who got Brussels to make it EU law. I'm not sure what the horse trade was, but I suspect that it might be possible to get this one downgraded.

    2. Acorn
      May 24, 2010

      Dennis; it sounds like you might have an answer to this question.

      As far as I can gather, in the US, a lot of legislation is actually drafted for Congress members, by vested interest lobby groups. To this draft is added various bits from supporting congressman's "pork barrel" of favours to his sponsors and voters.

      Does this happen at Westminster and Brussels and to what extent?

      1. DennisA
        May 24, 2010

        Difficult to compare but there is considerable lobbying by NGO's on everything from animal welfare to to chemicals to global warming. The EU provides funding for NGO's which obviously comes from member countries contributions. (They don't call it EU tax….yet). There is other lobbying as well, for example by farmer representatives or companies who try to reduce the worst excesses of the proposed EU legislation.

        The reasoning behind the funding is that it is supposed to empower "civil society" but effectively they are paid to lobby the EU for legislation (known as Directives), that the unelected EU Commissioners wanted in the first place. Member States subsequently have to incorporate the Directives into national legislation. I think that's how it works.

  20. Not an Economist
    May 23, 2010

    Excellent John. However I only expect to see these laws revoked by a Conservative Party Govt led by a PM who can be correctly described as a conservative himself.

    We may have to wait for the next Parliament for that I am afraid …

  21. JohnRS
    May 23, 2010


    Nice letter……But I bet you get either no reply at all or (at best) a couple of pages of political bullshit completely unrelated to the list of suggestions.

  22. Jonathan
    May 23, 2010

    Cant individuals already opt out of the Working Time Directive as it is? I query this only because I have several members of staff who have done so, or at least signed a form to that effect.

  23. Mike Stallard
    May 23, 2010

    This is an excellent example of how the current Coalition is going seriously wrong, I think. Your list makes perfect sense. It also could well contain a lot of helpful ideas.
    But who is listening?
    All the ideas of the current government seem to be discussed and initiated (as in the EU Central Committee) behind closed doors. Some of those ideas are excellent, I am sure. But without real input from people like yourself, they are going to be short of some good ideas and, worse (cp Iraq, Bernie Ecclestone, 1922 committee etc) full of seriously bad ones.
    You are not the only MP backbencher to have some really good thoughts. The question is this: who is sifting the wheat from the chaff? Or isn't there even a harvest any more?

  24. Sandra
    May 23, 2010

    As an older lady smoker I urge you to ask David Cameron and Nick Clegg to allow some pubs or clubs to allow smoking inside.
    I and most of my friends have become social outcasts and now suffer depression due to the isolation caused by this spiteful total smoking ban

    1. Mike Stallard
      May 24, 2010

      I warmly support this – as a non smoker!

    2. Gerry
      May 25, 2010

      But my asthma has improved no end, so I guess its swings and round-a-bouts. Although my illness is observable and is a direct result of inhaling second-hand smoke, not sure if the same can be said for you…

      1. Helen
        May 26, 2010

        Your asthma would not be affected if the smoking ban was tweaked to allow it in certain areas, ie private members clubs.

        Think of those who have suffered as a result – people have died; many are suffering from heavy depression and loneliness, particularly the elderly.

        We're in the 21st century now and preach fairness and tolerance for everyone. I don't think that it is fair at all and I believe it extremly intolerant to not have certain places to allow all our citizens to happily meet and live as they choose.

        Those who detest SHS or are affected by it should be accommadted, and those that choose to smoke should be accommated as well.

    3. carole
      May 26, 2010

      It used to make me depressed when i couldnt go into a pub or anywhere without having to meet a blanket of smoke from smokers.It spreads from smokers rooms whenever the door is opened and what about the poor staff?Only about 22% smoke so the majority DO NOT WANT IT!!!
      On the other hand i support every other of Johns repeals especially as i run a business!!!

      1. Ray
        May 26, 2010

        In other words, I don't like it so I want it banned.

        "Only about 22% smoke so the majority DO NOT WANT IT!!!
        What simplistic flawed logic. Even looking at the comments on just this blog alone, there are NON SMOKERS who are against it.

        "On the other hand i support every other of Johns repeals especially as i run a business!!!
        Gosh, thank you Your Majesty.

  25. Henry Story
    May 23, 2010

    Repeal drug legislation (marijuana in particular), and tax it instead. That would get 4 billion pounds in the coffers, remove people from prisons (and so save more money), reduce the policing required (saving even more money), and increase freedoms.

    Of course selling drugs to minors would still be an offence, and one could even have a law that would increase penalities for anyone commiting a crime when on drugs.

    (reference to unread publication removed)
    I don't myself smoke, but I think a huge proportion of people do, even after years of illegality. So this law makes ordinary citizens criminals.

    Of course being on drugs and working don't go together, so just as one cannot smoke in some place, so one would not allow drug use on the job.

  26. Jabba the Cat
    May 24, 2010

    The tip of the iceberg Mr Redwood, the mere tip…

  27. Andrew Gately
    May 24, 2010

    Can we add abolishing house in multiple occupation licensing to your list and I also think the smoking ban should be on it.

  28. Robert George
    May 24, 2010

    The only thing that dismays me is that Mr Clegg appears to have carriage of this and what say he will have with respect to what is not included. This seems to me to be core Tory policy and should not be haded over to the Limp Dims.

    However, if Clegg has to see it through make sure there are a few nasties in there which will blow up in his face; the CRB checks is a good one, whatever change is made or not made, the Minister in charge will carry the can as soon as the first incident occurs.

    1. Sir Graphus
      May 24, 2010

      Indeed, he's deliberately confusing "liberal" with "Liberal", headlining it as "Liberal policy"; most of this was also Tory policy, as you say, who made a lot more noise about it in opposition.

  29. Nick
    May 24, 2010

    Abolishment of the house of Lords.

    We have one Lord saying that selling legistlation for cash isn't a problem because they wouldn't have got away with it.


  30. Mark
    May 24, 2010

    Plainly we are going to need a Ministry for Deregulation in Brussels. Its budget should be taken from all existing ministries, and it should be made the largest ministry, so that it has sufficient teeth to do its work. Payment strictly by results, with extra bonuses for repealing entire directives rather than mere regulations, and a super bonus if a Brussels ministry is disbanded.

    All new regulations would have to be proposed to the Ministry for Deregulation, which would only permit it on the basis of finding other regulations to repeal.

  31. Sir Graphus
    May 24, 2010

    The "licence to sing" rule; formerly, a venue needed 1 licence to be a venue where live music could be heard. It was then changed to require a separate licence for every event. Silly, or sinister, it should go.

  32. Tug
    May 24, 2010

    As far as the Smoking ban is concerned All people smoker and non smoker alike should have the same choice, its called Freedom,only the Pubs and Clubs should make the choice to be smoking or non smoking venues,its Their Business,its how they make their living,or as we have seen with the smoking ban,its how they go out of business because of having No choice or say in how they run their business, no one wants non smokers to have to put up with the smoke from smokers( although the "claims" of SHS dangers are a fraud) but by the same token smokers should have the right to enjoy their legal product in comfort inside,if the Landlord agrees to that. So it is time to end this Discrimination and reform the smoking ban to allow Choice.

  33. Freeborn John
    May 24, 2010

    Superb letter Mr. Redwood.

  34. Trevor
    May 24, 2010

    I see very little to be gained from any of these suggestions and some are definitely counter-productive. The horse racing industry was very grateful for horse passports, as it meant they could move horses even during the FMDV outbreak.
    The smoking ban may attract letters, but is widely suported, etc. etc. Herbal medicines are positively dangerous.
    I would be left with about five, if I went through them all.
    1. Make CRB checks transferable
    2. CPA – agreed
    3. RDAs – agreed
    4. HIPs – agreed, but this was badly implemented – it should have been surveys which buyers can rely on
    5. Mortgage regulation agreed

  35. Lupus Incomitatus
    May 24, 2010


  36. sm
    May 25, 2010

    From what i understand , a significant amount of medicines originate from the natural world, herbal medicine has its place as does conventional synthetic medicines.

    One should not be so dismissive of traditional remedies where used correctly.

    What is the difference between therapeutic and toxic doses of any medicine?

    Of course you could just ban breathing as well!

    1. Trevor
      May 25, 2010

      Yes, but administer digitalis in the wrong dose and you kill the patient. So, why should new or old herbal medicines be exempt from safety and efficacy testing.

      1. sm
        May 29, 2010

        1) Increasing bureaucracy can effectively remove remedies from use leaving the field open only to big pharma.

        2) Because they have been tested historically over centuries/decades-not years.

        3) Water can kill you but it normally doesn't. Do we test all home grown food/herbs for safety and efficacy?

        4) Illegal drugs arent effected by safety and efficacy testing.

        5) Digtalis i understand was the basis of some heart drugs but in its natural form you cant patent it. Hence you capture the market for big Pharma products. Who will pay for natural remedies to be tested for safety and efficacy. Maybe a tax on big Pharma should fund it.

  37. John Duck
    May 25, 2010

    What about scrapping Labour's complicated Road tax system?

    Switch to simpler 3 tier system… £125 a year for cars with up to 1.6litre engines + cars like the Toyota Pious (currently £15 – £20 a year road tax because of it's so called "eco-friendlyness") + diesels regardless of size.

    £200 a year for cars upto 2.5litres petrol
    £250 a year for cars over 2.5litres (instead of over £400 a year at present)

    1. S Matthews
      May 25, 2010

      Just put a few pence extra (3-4) on fuel duty and scrap the road fund tax. Much simpler and it ticks any box you care to mention.

    2. Ray
      May 26, 2010

      "the Toyota Pious …. because of it’s so called “eco-friendlyness”

      Surely The car of choice for The Righteous…

      Fantastic Freudian slip!

  38. Stronghold Barricade
    May 25, 2010

    Tear up the GP contract

    Make sure that any new system actually has in place accountability for data sharing between different health authorities

    There are already systems available, which the NHS doesn't recognise officially

    Make Best practice sharing madatory

    Please can we have elected chief execs of health authorities? Same as for police chiefs, so there is someone locally accountable to stop things like Mid Staffs occuring.

  39. Gerry
    May 25, 2010

    Yes of course John,

    If there's one thing we've learned from the financial crisis it was that there was too much regulation.

    Glad to see you still have faith in the idea that the money-incentive can still be utilised for the social good.

  40. Richard
    May 25, 2010

    I wonder how much of the time of regional Development Agencies’ personnel is spent in simply pushing forms across a counter and explaining how to fill them out?

  41. Tim Cavill
    May 25, 2010

    I would like to see The Rt. Hon. Nicholas Clegg MP introduce a bill charging a fee of £10 per annum on the head of every citizen of the world who uses English as their first language, this would obviously include Ireland and Scotland together with the USA,Australia etc.[we know where you live]. In addition a further tax of £5 per head on the people using English as a second language, this would just about cover everybody else and probably bring in more revenue than the £10 levy.
    Our financial problems would be over within the life of this Government, we can avoid all 'cuts' and we can continue to throw money away as we have been doing over the last 13 years.

  42. heidi
    May 25, 2010

    tell us what laws you want scrapped….

    Abolish the Human Rights Act
    Get us out of the EU
    Immediately remove fingerprints & DNA of anyone not found guilty of a crime
    Stop positive (reverse) discrimination for minorities
    Stop promotion of minority groups which encourages division, resentment and the thought police
    Abolish Sharia Law til British Law is introduced to Muslim countries
    Remove at least 50% of all surveillance and all speed cameras
    Stop laws that encourage 'thought police' (the easily offended, "wait til I tell daddy", PC brigade)
    Repeal Labour’s Terrorism Acts & Investigatory powers Act
    Repeal CRB checks for having ANY dealings with children
    Stop biometric data storage, big brother society, control society
    De-centralise personal data storage to minimise damage if lost
    Stop forcing non-muslims to eat halal meat (where halal replaces non-halal meat in many English institutions)

  43. Jeremy
    May 26, 2010

    Re item 20, Amend Waste Incineration Regulations 2002 to permit more recycling.

    The problem goes deeper than that. Waste Regulation comes from European Directives – not all of them bad – and is based on waste being defined as anything that is "discarded". That seemed all right until the logic collided with a growing emphasis across Europe on reusing and recycling materials rather than chucking everything away.

    Recycling in legal terms meant "recovering" the materials, and it could be done under the Directive only within a legally prescribed framework. Reusing had no legal framework in the original Directive, since once a material had been discarded, it remained waste until or unless it was "recovered", but recovery had to be in fulfilment of a specific and identifiable process and subject to controls. Reuse, however, obviously means a situation where no such recovery is needed.

    Luckily, although a bit clunky at first, the European Court handed down a series of helpful and practical decisions several years ago that offered a way forward for reuse. Basically, the court supported common sense and allowed materials that could be reused not to be automatically counted as having been discarded (= waste), although they added a few tests to stop abuse, and all this was based on the usual European approach of examining outcomes rather than exact formalities.

    Unfortunately, that was not enough for the Environment Agency in England and Wales. It set its face against allowing any reuse, ignored these European Court decisions that are binding on them, and chose instead to take a prescriptive view of the original Directive, largely in ignorance of the European Court's interpretations of it.

    I have personal and direct knowledge of tens of thousands of tonnes of material going to waste instead of for reuse owing to this officially-sanctioned intransigence. Our concerns were raised at the time with the government, who were unwilling to take on the Agency and the political appointee in charge, and with a Cabinet Office legal examination into over-zealous application of European Directives which acknowledged the Agency's failure to follow proper legal direction but whose report achieved no result. The legal opinion on which we relied came from an eminent QC front-bencher.

    As this situation applies in many industries, and is in direct contravention of government policy (and legal obligation) to minimise waste, I suggest an amendment to the UK regulations to ensure the Environment Agency (if it survives) can no longer ignore these binding interpretations from the European Court – which are protective of both the environment and common-sense – as it would be a valuable step forward for industry and should be readily acceptable to those seeking a Liberal and Conservative approach to good public administration.

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  45. Alun Williams
    June 8, 2010

    I agree with John Redwood's call for public areas where smoking be permitted. I do not smoke myself but I am against the current bullying culture which seeks to control people and make them conform. The rights of non-smokers should be paramount (since they constitute the majority) but they should not have an absolute veto over the activities of others. It is not up to governments and bossy health fanatics to tell the rest of us how to lead our lives.

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