PRIME Minister David Cameron is to “significantly”

cut 80,000 pages of environmental guidance.

Among those to be pruned are 286 pages of regulations on hedgerow maintenance and 380 pages on waste management.

In a speech to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) he said the cuts to Defra regulations would be made by March next year, saving rural businesses £100m a year.

Henry Robinson, president of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), welcomed the announcement.

He said: “All this is good news for the rural economy, small businesses and the people living and working in the countryside.

“We have been waiting for some time to see the results of the Government’s Red Tape Challenge and it is very pleasing to see that many of the regulations that apply to agriculture, the environment and the rural economy are to be swept away. This radical approach is vital to stimulate the rural economy.

“For far too long, agriculture and rural businesses have been hamstrung by over-regulation and the over-zealous interpretation of the rules.”

The CLA called for cuts in red tape in its recent housing report, Tackling the Housing Crisis in England, and backed Mr Cameron’s decision to cut 100 overlapping and confusing standards applied to new homes to fewer than ten.

The CLA will also ask for a reduction in planning conditions, changes to Section 106 agreements to help smaller builders and a statutory requirement for local authorities to have a local plan in place.