There are many objectives  of legisation which  we  all agree with  ,but we allow the processes of their excecution to become dominant . These processes become ends in their own rights because those responsible for implementation fear that they will be held overly accountable for failures , because we often focus on the extremes of what we are trying to achieve ( and lose sight of the 95/5 rule ), and we are obsessed with monitoring .Unfortunately this gives too much power to the 'jobs worth types' who like to throw their weight around .

I observed a very good example of  this in the security check at Stansted airport . The polythene bag used for liquids is sized so that the total volume of small bottles cannot exceed the overall limit of 1litre . The standard bag was thus designed to speed checking . A traveller ahead of me  ,in the winter ,just had a small tube of Lipsyl and did not have it in the bag . He was refused passage until he went back got a bag , put the tube in and rejoined the queue  .

I am sure that there are hundreds of examples in which simplifying regulations will cut bureaucracy , cut hassle  ,without compromising the objectives of the legisation . I will focus as an example on planning .

I agree with Listed Building Regulations . We live in listed house . At the time of listing in the 1980s, the  previous occupants had put in cheap wooden frames in the 1960s which did not match the original style of the house . When we wanted to replace them with more appropriate frames we had a lot of trouble . We were told intitally that we could not have double glazed windows because the house did not have them at the time of listing . After a lot of effort the council agreed that the energy conservation targets took precedence . The application for  small changes such as replacement of a window frame must be dealt with by a process common to substantial changes . This was meant to streamline planning and it has not . The concept of de minimus is not understood .

As a listed house owner we  ,like many others, objected to the provision of all our house details on the internet by English Heritage . We consider the major beneficiaries will be criminals  , but the best that we got was a 10 year stay . This is an unnecessary   regulatory requirement and should be abolished .

We  are also on a conservation area and we have to consult a council tree officer on what we do to trees . We knew that we needed to do some pollarding and employed a tree surgeon who applied tro the council . When the tree officer arrived he was very cross , because he observed that I had cut off some very small  lower branches ,which had been scraping our car . He said that any cutting of any sized branch had to have his permission   . What I had done was vandalism he told  . I got the permission for the pollarding ,but since then I have tried to get to the bottom of the de minimus issue . Apparently any tree pruning must be done according to  a Britisih Standard, which I have had to find out for myself ( some councils are more helfpul ) . Failure to comply with the BS is a breach under the Town and Country Planning Acts and can be the subject of prosecution . However in our case it was not a failure in this sense , the failure was that I had had the temerity to do something, however minor, without a site vist and consent of the Tree Officer

So over all in the three examples I must declare that I want safe air travel , I support the concept of listed buldings and I support tree conservation , but I do not support proceess which allow 'jobs worth ' attitudes and which ignore the concept of de minimus

Why is this idea important?

It is  important that the application of regulations is made as efficient  as possible and with the least hassle . Unnecesssry resources  are spent on administration , but very importantly individuals suffering become cross and lose sympathy with the objectives of the legisation and that is not good in terms of community support and might in the end even lead to less compliance .

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