The Environment Agency is working hard with the government and other partners to protect the public and environment from the effects of coronavirus (COVID-19).

We are aware communities, businesses and the environment rely on our services. This includes the advice and guidance we offer, our regulatory work which continues to protect the environment, people and wildlife from harm, managing the risks of flooding and coastal erosion, and other roles.

In light of the updated government guidance on 10 May, there have been some changes for our boating and angling customers. Meanwhile, we continue to follow the government’s guidance for blue light services to ensure those in critical roles can continue with their essential work.  ……..

Our regulatory role

Our priority is to protect people and the environment, and to support those we regulate. We continue to carry out regulatory visits to sites that could cause serious environmental harm where appropriate. For all sites, we are developing ways to continue to regulate during this period, using alternative regulatory approaches such as increasing desk-based compliance activity and remote ways of working.

We continue to work closely with businesses and industry to help them meet their legal requirements. We have clearly set out our approach to regulation and enforcement during this difficult time, and have introduced new temporary regulatory position statements (RPSs). RPSs are nationally-applicable public statements that, provided certain circumstances and conditions are met, allow specified activity to be carried out without complying with a particular regulatory requirement. RPSs allow a degree of flexibility while still ensuring regulatory standards are maintained to protect people and the environment. They include clear conditions regarding standards that must be adhered to.

Across the country, our teams continue to undertake investigations into environmental offending and prepare legal cases. We will consider the appropriate regulatory response to any unavoidable non-compliance in accordance with our policies and guidance on regulation and enforcement.

Coronavirus is not an excuse to operate illegally. We make clear in our approach to regulation and enforcement that we expect operators to take all reasonable steps to comply with regulatory requirements using contingency plans to help them comply.  ……..

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