The Environment Agency (EA) published a report today (October 28) revealing that although the majority of England’s business are working to protect the environment, more work is needed to reduce pollution and illegal waste activity.
The Regulating for People, Environment, and Growth (RPEG) report gives an overview of the regulatory performance of all businesses with environmental permits in England.
According to the report, 92% of operators demonstrated good compliance with their environmental permit conditions with greenhouse gas emissions from industry down by half in the last ten years.
However, despite this good progress, the report highlights the need for businesses to do more to protect the environment as the number of serious pollution incidents and illegal waste sites has increased.
Serious pollution incidents increased in most sectors in 2018 with incidents from non-permitted and permitted activities increased by 44% and 29% since 2017 respectively.
There were 533 serious pollution incidents in 2018, this is 27% more than in 2017.
912 illegal waste sites were closed down by the EA last year, but 896 new sites were discovered.
The EA continues to target those who flout the rules with enforcement action, including prosecution
In 2018, the prosecutions brought by the EA resulted in almost £2.8m in fines for environmental offences.
Gillian Pratt, deputy director at the EA said: ‘Our regulation is supporting a healthier environment and safer communities. The majority of businesses we regulate are well run.’
‘But all businesses must make improvements to ensure their operations help protect the environment and local communities.’
‘Waste crime continues to blight communities, causing environmental harm and undercutting legitimate business. Businesses need to do more to manage their risks and reduce pollution incidents.’
EA chief executive, James Bevan said: ‘One of our key tools as a nation to help tackle the climate crisis is regulation.’
‘As the country continues to prepare to leave the EU, we have an opportunity to do regulation even better. So EU exit doesn’t mean taking down regulations. The Environment Agency stands ready to clamp down on offenders as robustly as before.’
In related news, the Environment Agency has urged water companies to clean up their act after a new report described their efforts to protect the environment as ‘simply unacceptable’.
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