The help comes in the shape of a partnership between the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) in Northern Ireland and Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) in Scotland. which have teamed up to launch NetRegs, an on-line service aimed at helping SMEs comply with environmental laws in the UK.
The site provides a raft of free compliance information and practical sector specific advice for small and medium-sized businesses throughout Northern Ireland and Scotland.
SMEs often have little awareness of their environmental responsibilities and are loath to contact the official regulators for advice. Furthermore, many do not have the time or the resources to wade through the complex legislation.
After talking extensively to many business groups and other associations it was realised that what was needed was a place were SMEs can obtain clear, simple to use information. That’s what this site is about.
The site contains specific information for a broad range of sectors, from manufacturing, textiles and chemicals to agriculture, food and electronics. It also provides management guidelines as well as operational guidelines.
Happily, the emphasis is as much on the business benefits of complying with legislation as well as the legal aspects. Businesses that fail to comply with waste, noise and emissions legislation can find themselves open to prosecution, insurance claims and a host of other problems. For small companies, this can prove fatal. However, SMEs that manage good environmental management are often performing good business practices. Complying with the regulations properly can lead to cost savings and greater business efficiency. For instance, SMEs that take energy efficiency seriously can gain financially.
SMEs that wish to find out more about what environmental legislation affects their business – and how to comply with it – should log onto http://www.netregs.gov.uk/