B1.14.1 Environment Agency


The Environment Agency is generally the principle enforcement body in England and Wales. It was established under the Environment Act 1995, as a result of a merger between:

  • HMIP (Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Pollution).
  • NRA (National Rivers Authority).
  • Local Waste Regulatory Agencies.

The Environment Agency enforces issues including:

  • Air Pollution.
  • Water Pollution.
  • Waste Legislation.

The Environment Agency’s enforcement policy is provided below:

Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Guidance

 The principles on which we make our enforcement and prosecution decisions.

 The Environment Agency encourages individuals and businesses to put the environment first and to combine environmental practices with normal working methods.

 We believe that prevention is better than cure, and offer information and advice to those that we regulate to help cut down on unnecessary paperwork and cost.

 The aim of enforcement, including prosecution, is to make sure business and industry takes appropriate action to protect the environment and to make sure regulations which prevent pollution are complied with.

 We may decide to enforce following an unlicensed ‘incident’ or a breach of the conditions of a licensed activity.

 Enforcement powers available to us include:

  • enforcement notices and works notices (where contravention can be prevented or needs to be remedied)
  • prohibition notices (where there is an imminent risk of serious environmental damage)
  • suspension or revocation of environmental licences
  • variation of licence conditions, injunctions
  • carrying out remedial works (where we carry out remedial works, we will seek to recover the full costs incurred from those responsible)

 Where a criminal offence has been committed, in addition to any other enforcement action, we will consider prosecution, administering a caution or issuing a warning.

 The purpose of prosecution is to punish and deter, as well as ensure that the benefits of criminal activity are removed.

 Source: Environment Agency; http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/business/regulation/31851.aspx


Further information is available on the Environment Agency’s website: