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Regulatory compliance and risk management

Environmental law in the UK is enforced by individual local authorities and three national regulatory authorities.

  • Environment Agency: England and Wales
  • Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA): Scotland
  • Northern Ireland Enforcement Agency (NIEA): Northern Irelance

Each of the above three agencies operate in broadly the same manner. The Environment Agency was created by the Environment Act 1995 and came into existence on 1 April 1996. It is the leading public body for protecting and improving the environment in England and Wales and is responsible to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in England and the Department for Environment, Sustainability and Housing of the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) in Wales.

In addition to national issues such as flood defence, the Agencies have responsibility for dealing with many business-related environmental issues.

Up until the last 30 years, the majority of environmental law was characterised by regulating businesses against the more easily identifiable, single issue, pollution sources, such as chimney emissions or discharges to water. Many forms of early environmental law were also focused on placing controls on how to minimise the effects of emissions and pollution once they had happened, rather than in ways to prevent their occurrence at source.

Most UK environmental law has its origins at European or international level. This is because many environmental problems, such as climate change, acid rain, biodiversity loss, resource depletion and deforestation are transboundary and the ill effects of one problem can be felt in different countries from those where the problem originates.

Key environmental law includes:

  • Waste law: producer responsibility and specific legislation covering disposal of different types of waste.
  • Air pollution law: includes reducing emissions from industrial processes, onsite energy generation and transportation, emissions trading, containment of refrigerants and others.
  • Water law: including consents for discharge, use of water supply and abstraction.
  • Climate change law: covers financial and legislative instruments used to reduce the emissions contributing towards global warming which have a significant impact on business in the UK.
  • Contaminated land.
  • Laws for the protection of natural resources and biodiversity.

As legal specialists with 17 years’ experience in the sector, Workplace Law is well placed to help clients not only meet their legal responsibilities, but to go beyond compliance to seek the benefits of embracing sustainability at the heart of their business.

We conduct independent compliance audits, reporting on general as well as specific environmental performance measures.  We can also help put together a legal register of specific environmental legislation that your organisation has to comply with so that a structured approach can be taken.

In the event of an environmental incident or accident, we are also able to support you post-event and to advise and represent you in dealings with enforcing authorities and in legal proceedings.

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  • Confidential advice and support on environmental law and compliance.
  • Independent compliance audits give peace of mind and manage risk to avoid potential exposure.
  • Flexible, responsible response in the event of incidents or accidents.
  • Year-round, fixed-price support as part of our Environmental annual support contract.

Case studies

Kuehne + Nagel: Managing environmental risk

Workplace Law is delivering the training of Kuehne + Nagel environmental champions staff through a year-long programme –delivering the four-day IEMA Foundation Certificate in Environmental Management in a combination of elearning, in-house courses and as part of public courses at the Workplace Law Executive Centre.


BNP Paribas Sustainability Estates Training Package

In 2012 Workplace Law was asked to develop and deliver a property management-focused sustainability training course for BNP Paribas Real Estate UK. This is a branch of BNP Paribas bank, which provides a number of property services including development, management and investment of property portfolios across the UK.


Assisting Shelter: Implementing ISO 14001

Workplace Law was appointed in the final quarter of 2012 to assist Shelter with the implementation of an ISO 14001 Environmental Management System (EMS). Shelter wished to reduce its environmental impact, secure funding and make operational cost savings.


Helping Chaps Ltd get CHAS accredited

"In 2009 Chaps Ltd recognised that it needed to improve its health and safety systems. We changed our Health and Safety consultants to Workplace Law in order to give us a fresh approach towards our management of health and safety and to gain specialist construction advice.

"By using their expertise and experience Simon and Maria have guided us into developing a health and safety system that has achieved CHAS accreditation and given our customers and principle contractor’s confidence in our management of health and safety. They have always been available to offer advice when needed and to provide independent site inspections and audits which are often required by our customers.

"Both Simon and Maria continue to support Chaps Ltd and have become an important, integral part of our Health and Safety Management System."



"When reviewing our need for Employment Law Support, a number of companies were shortlisted and Workplace Law were chosen due to the professionalism and advice they provided. Since engaging with them they have proved to be an excellent ‘sounding board’, guide and always at the end of an email or call to give practical, commercially sound advice. The support given for a ‘handed over’ tribunal was second to none and a positive outcome. I’d recommend Workplace Law to any business that was looking for comprehensive, professional and sound employment advice." Caroline Lupton, Anson
"Having the Workplace Law Annual Support Contract in place provides our business with essential on-going day to day HR support in dealing with the wide range of personnel issues we face and in supporting our managers. As well as being legally sound the advice is both pragmatic and commercially focussed with an excellent response rate provided to our enquiries. All the HR Consultants in the team are approachable, professional and extremely capable in helping us work through the many diverse challenges we face to ensure that people are treated lawfully and fairly. The support ranges from day to day email and telephone advice to excellent consultancy service for more complex issues. We hope to be able to continue with this partnership well into the future and would have no hesitation in recommending the HR support that Workplace Law are able to provide to other businesses." Gill Baglin, Brewers
"We were very pleased with the way Workplace Law carried out our fire risk assessments in the College and hostels. They worked very closely with us throughout the process and produced a comprehensive set of risk assessments that met our requirements perfectly." Bob Smith, Magdalene College
"The proactive stance taken by Workplace Law CDM-C’s on our projects has created a positive attitude to problem solving between the design, delivery and client teams. In many cases our clients are introduced to the CDM regulations for the first time as ‘lay clients’ and need a high degree of hand holding to stay with the spirit and letter of the law. This could lead to costly delays in the works. This has proved not to be the case and all our key objectives are met." Mark Myers, The Harmsen Group
"On the whole I have attended many courses and undertaken a variety of qualifications over the years and this course has been by far the most valuable to me in terms of the knowledge, confidence and enhancement to my working capability and therefore fantastic value for money. I would have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending this course to anyone looking to develop their operational HR skills or for managers having to deal with front line people matters." Jennifer Caswell, Great Yarmouth Port Company
"I really want to thank Workplace Law for the fantastic work you have done on our highly complex project. I know it was not easy to gather all the sensitive information from so many people. Myself and the MD have read the report and are both delighted with the clear and easy to understand way the whole report is laid out. The recommendations were spot on and it certainly helped clarify the issues. I am sure we will be calling on your services again." Thank you. Karen Todd, ACS International Schools

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