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Environment Agency

Volume 449: debated on Monday 24 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps the Environment Agency takes to ensure that its charging policy is fair and equitable across its user groups. (87032)

The Environment Agency complies with Her Majesty's Treasury's “Fees and Charges Guide”, applies the polluter (or beneficiary) should pay principle, attributes relevant costs to specific charging regimes, and recovers those costs through charges.

The Agency also takes account of guidance set out in the DEFRA Charging Handbook, which states that policy makers should be sensitive to the burden upon payers (and particular segments) and that this should be done though developing a Regulatory Impact Assessment on the proposed change in charge if it imposes a real increase in burden. In accordance with good Government practice the Agency routinely seeks the views of stakeholders, customer groups and individual charge payers on proposals for changes.