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UK Environmental Bodies


  • Introduction
  • Government
  • Local Authority Control
  • Agencies


In the UK, Environmental Management spans both Government organisations and Environmental agencies:-

Government Organisations include

  • Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)
  • Local Authorities

Environment Agencies include

  • Environment Agency England and Wales (EA)
  • Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA)
  • Natural Resources Wales (Cyfoeth Naturiol Cymru)
  • Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA)
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Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is the government department for England and Wales and is accountable for the regulations and policy on environmental protection, food production and rural affairs.

Local Authority Pollution Control (LAPC)

  • For emissions, Defra provides guidance to the Local Authority Pollution Control (LAPC) who take responsibility for the allocation of permits to businesses describing how pollution is to be minimised.
  • Traditionally, the LAPC will be the district, borough council or port authority in which the installation is operating.
  • The LAPC will assign permits to over 80 different types of installation including foundries, crematoria, wood fired boilers, gas turbines and animal carcase incineration.
  • It is the responsibility of the installation to apply for the permit and it is the Local Authority which will decide if it is approved.

Local Authority Control

The Local Authorities operate under 2 remits:-

Local Authority Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (LA-IPPC) - Part A2

  • The LA-IPPC determines the controls for industry to protect the environment via a single permit process. As a result, emissions to air, water, sewer discharges and land must be reviewed as a whole.
  • The analysis which contributes to the permit is based on the ‘Best Available Techniques’ (BAT), which balances the benefits to the environment with the costs to the operator.
  • Installations regulated under LA-IPPC are primarily ones whose air emissions have been regulated by local authorities and are also under the scope of the IPPC directive.

Local Authority Pollution Prevention and Control (LAPPC) - Part B

  • The LAPPC regulates installations whose air emissions are being regulated by the local authorities under the Environment Permitting Regulations but do not come under the scope of the IPPC directive.

Environment Agencies

Environment Agency (England)

  • The Environment Agency (EA) is a non-departmental public body, established in 1996 and is sponsored by the United Kingdom government's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
  • Responsibilities relating to the protection and enhancement of the environment include:-

    Regulating major industry and waste
    Treatment of contaminated land
    Water quality and resources
    Inland river, estuary and harbour navigations
    Conservation and ecology

Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA)

  • The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) is a non-departmental public body of the Scottish Government whose role is to "make sure that the environment and human health are protected, to ensure that Scotland’s natural resources and services are used as sustainably as possible and contribute to sustainable economic growth"
  • Responsibilities include

    Ensuring compliance with environmental legislation.
    Increase environmental understanding
    Delivering Scotland's flood warning system
    Delivering Scotland’s Zero Waste Plan
    The Scottish aspect of the Radioactive Incident Monitoring Network
    Support the Health and Safety Executive to control the risk of major accidents at industrial sites

Natural Resources Wales (Cyfoeth Naturiol Cymru)

  • Natural Resources Wales is the Welsh Government Sponsored Body established in April 2013 merging the Countryside Council for Wales, Forestry Commission Wales and the Environment Agency in Wales plus other Welsh Government functions.
  • Responsibilities include:-

    Advising the Welsh Government, industry and the public on issues relating to the environment and its natural resources
    Protecting people and the environment including marine, forest and waste industries
    Prosecuting breaches to the environmental regulations
    Emergency response to environmental incidents

Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA)

  • Northern Ireland Environment Agency is an executive agency within the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and is responsible for the conservation of Northern Ireland's environment and natural heritage.
  • Responsibilities include:-

    Delivering environmental compliance and implementation of legislation and international obligations
    Improving the understanding the environment
    Supporting a sustainable economy
    Delivering reform and effective planning