Regulation can encourage innovation

Regulation has been a powerful agent of change in the UK's waste water sector.

Banning dumping of sludge at sea (and then banning disposal to landfill) encouraged investment in incineration; changing the regulation of incineration encouraged a switch to sludge digestion; introduction of renewable energy incentives encouraged installation of CHP infrastructure; the availability of CHP meant that thermal hydrolyis became viable - with the twin benefits of decreasing final sludge volumes and sanitising the sludge; the WFD is encouraging greater efforts at nutrient removal prior to discharge etc etc

It would be difficult to argue that regulation (overall) has had a negative impact on this sector, but some of the steps could have been omitted if there had been a clear strategy from the start.  If the strategy were to de-centralise waste treatment, then one set of innovations might arise.  If the strategy were to develop a UK biorefinery, then a different set of innovations might arise.  The combination of strategic clarity and regulatory push can be very powerful agents of innovation when deployed sensibly

Why the contribution is important

Regulation is often perceived as negative, when it can actually prompt creative responses that benefit wider society.  It is important not to lose sight of this.

by laurustinus on January 19, 2016 at 03:03PM

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  • Posted by Singingstar1 February 15, 2016 at 11:41

    Regulation is very important so that issues like national heritage, ecology and other things that cannot vote such as archaelogy and other assets which are irreplacable are protected.
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