No matter what sector you are in, every business needs to ensure that it is fulfilling its duty to comply with environmental regulations. Depending on what you do, this can vary in complexity – certain types of business such as construction or industrial companies may present risks which office-based business may not, such as hazardous waste management.

If your business is just starting out, make sure you are fulfilling your legal obligations and establish what risks your business may pose to the environment.

Who implements environmental regulations?

Here in the UK, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is responsible form implementing policies and the Environment Agency (EA) enforces these policies and issues relevant permits to businesses.

How do we make sure our business is compliant?

The most important task to carry out when assessing your business’s compliance with environmental regulations is a risk assessment. This will help you to determine the key risks that your business poses to the environment. You should concentrate on how your business may contribute to pollution and emissions, your energy and water usage and waste management systems.

Contact your local authority

It may be worth contacting your local authority if you are running a small local business. They are often responsible for ensuring low risk businesses are complying with regulations, so they are a good knowledge source.

Implement systems which minimise your environmental impact

There are many effective systems you can put into place to help minimise your environmental impact. Something as simple as ensuring you are disposing of waste correctly, by working with authorised contractors at registered sites will help towards compliance. There are companies across the UK which specialise in high quality systems that reduce pollution and manage hazardous waste, such as ERG Air Pollution Control.

Do you need an environmental permit?

Many businesses may require an environmental permit if their activities pose a high risk to the environment. This will particularly affect companies which use hazardous materials or substances, pose a risk of ground water contamination or produce significant air pollution.

If you fall into this category, the permit will provide you with rules on how you operate and undertake your business activities, ensuring that your systems and processes will adequately restrict your environmental impact. It is always best to check with your regulator before commencing business activities.

Taking the necessary steps to ensure compliance shouldn’t just be about the legal requirement – it will also help your business to thrive by reducing running costs, streamlining processes and minimising the risk of unforeseen environmental problems down the line.