Dealing with the Environment Agency
Produced in partnership with Philip Ryan and Joanne Sear of Shoosmiths
Dealing with the Environment Agency

The following Risk & Compliance guidance note Produced in partnership with Philip Ryan and Joanne Sear of Shoosmiths provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Dealing with the Environment Agency
  • What is the Environment Agency?
  • Summary of objectives
  • Is there a system of random compliance visits?
  • Does the EA have a formal enforcement strategy?
  • What is most likely to attract the EA’s attention?
  • Dealing with the EA
  • How to respond if you find yourself on the wrong side of the EA
  • Common breaches
  • When and how to self-report to the EA
  • more

What is the Environment Agency?

The Environment Agency (EA) is an executive non-departmental public body, established in 1996 and sponsored by the UK government's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). It has responsibilities relating to the protection and enhancement of the environment in England (and Wales prior to 2013).

Alongside the EA, there are other regulators that are able to prosecute environmental offences, such as Local Authorities.

Summary of objectives

The EA’s overall objectives are to protect the environment and promote sustainable development, with a vision to create better places for people and wildlife.

More specific objectives are set out in the EA’s corporate report:

  1. clean air

  2. clean and plentiful water

  3. thriving plants and wildlife

  4. reducing risk of harm from environmental hazards

  5. using resources from nature more sustainably and efficiently

  6. enhancing beauty, heritage and engagement with the natural environment

  7. mitigating and adapting to climate change

  8. minimising waste

  9. managing exposure to chemicals

  10. enhancing biosecurity

These objectives align with central government's 25 Year Environment Plan.

The EA is responsible for regulating major industry and waste, treatment of contaminated land, water quality and resources, fisheries, inland river, estuary and harbour navigations and conservation and ecology.

The EA describes its current priorities as being to:

  1. work with businesses and other organisations to manage the use of resources

  2. increase the resilience of people, property and businesses