Environment Agency (EA)—powers of entry

The following Environment practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Environment Agency (EA)—powers of entry
  • Environment Agency powers
  • Exercise of powers
  • Evidence and privilege
  • Emergency intervention
  • Entry for works purposes
  • Entry for other authorised purposes
  • Natural England

Environment Agency (EA)—powers of entry

The Environment Agency (EA), Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have extensive, but not unlimited, powers to enter premises.

Environment Agency powers

Rights of entry and investigation conferred by section 108 of the Environment Act 1995 (EA 1995) are exercisable without the need for a warrant (though a warrant may be required where permission to enter has been or is likely to be refused). However, entry must be strictly in accordance with the terms of written authorisation and must be for the purpose of:

  1. determining whether pollution control or flood risk activity law is being or has been complied with

  2. exercising or performing one of the pollution control or flood risk activity functions of the authority, or

  3. determining whether and, if so, how such a function should be performed

  4. determining whether any of the offences listed in EA 1995, s 108(1)(d) are being or have been committed

Powers of entry are also available under EA 1995, s 108 where the EA is required to carry out any assessment or prepare any report under EA 1995, s 5(3) or 33(3). These powers are exercisable where the assessment or report relates to an incident or possible incident involving or having the potential to involve:

  1. serious pollution of the environment

  2. serious harm to human health, or

  3. danger to life or health


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