Water remediation—anti-pollution works
Water remediation—anti-pollution works

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

  • Water remediation—anti-pollution works
  • Regulator power to carry out anti-pollution works
  • Works where there is a threat to the environmental objectives of a water body
  • Improvement works
  • Costs recovery
  • Power to serve a works notice on others
  • Compensation
  • Appeals against works notices
  • Standard of remediation
  • Offences and penalties
  • More...

Water remediation—anti-pollution works

Regulator power to carry out anti-pollution works

Water Resources Act 1991, s 161 gives the (EA) and NRW the power to carry out anti-pollution works and operations to investigate, prevent, remedy and mitigate water pollution.

The power applies where it appears to the EA or NRW that any poisonous, noxious or polluting matter or any solid waste matter is:

  1. likely to enter any controlled waters (surface water or groundwater)

  2. likely to be present in any controlled waters, or

  3. likely to have been present in any controlled waters

Measures can be taken to:

  1. prevent the polluting matter from entering the water

  2. remove or dispose of the matter

  3. remedy or mitigate the pollution

  4. as far as is reasonably practicable, restore the water and any flora or fauna to the condition they were in before the incident

The EA/NRW also have a power to investigate what the polluting matter is, where it comes from, the actual or likely pollution caused and who is responsible.

The measures in section 161(2)–(3) can only be used where either:

  1. the EA/NRW considers it necessary to carry out works or operations forthwith, or

  2. it appears to the EA/NRW, after reasonable enquiry, that no ‘responsible person’ can be found on whom to serve a works notice

‘Responsible person’ means a person who has ‘caused or knowingly permitted’ the matter:

  1. to be present in the controlled waters, or

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