Across Europe, there is considerable interest in establishing stronger links between environmental regulation and standards for environmental management systems (EMSs) such as ISO 14001. If it can be demonstrated that possession of an EMS results in improved environmental or regulatory performance, then there is a case for granting ‘regulatory relief’ in the form of, for example, reduced inspection frequencies. This paper describes the analysis of information on almost 800 sites regulated under the UK's Integrated Pollution Control regime. It demonstrates that having an EMS improves certain procedural aspects of environmental management but does not appear to reduce the likelihood of breaching permit conditions. Interviews with certification bodies revealed the factors, such as differentiation of services in the market for certification, that underlie this finding. It is concluded that some limited recognition of EMS in regulation is warranted, because there is overlap between some regulatory and certification procedures, and because having an EMS facilitates the supply of information necessary for regulation. The broader implications for regulated industry, certification bodies, regulators and wider environmental policymaking are considered. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.

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Publication type:
  • Journal article
Other authors:
  • Kristina Dahlström
  • Chris Howes
  • Paul Leinster
  • Jim Skea
  • United Kingdom