Internationally, pressure is being put on governments and regulators to develop more modern forms of regulation that deliver more for less and in better ways. This review considers the ways in which one large regulator, the Environment Agency for England and Wales, has responded to such pressure by developing and implementing risk-based approaches to regulation. After exploring the context for and key elements of risk-based environmental regulation, we consider the evolving influence of such approaches. We discuss the impacts of risk-based approaches against the UK Government’s principles for better regulation and against the key criteria for policy evaluation before considering some of the key challenges that still need to be addressed in this area of regulatory activity. These relate to the need to i) understand best practice and promote consistency in risk based regulation; ii) develop reliable, responsive forms of risk assessment and monitoring; iii) build capacities for responsive risk regulation; iv) evaluate the influence of different regulatory styles; and v) better understand the potential role of the private sect
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