Environmental Pollution

Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into the natural environment, which cause adverse change. Pollution incidents can happen every day as a result of spills, accidents, negligence or vandalism - but in the vast majority of cases the cause of the incident proves to have been avoidable. Sometimes the pollutants put human health at risk and often they devastate wildlife habitats, including rivers where they kill fish and destroy the invertebrate life on which fish and other animals feed. Causing, or allowing pollution to occur are criminal offences and may result in enforcement action.

There are seven types of environmental pollution;

  • Air.
  • Land.
  • Water.
  • Light.
  • Noise.
  • Thermal.
  • Visual.

Further information on pollution prevention can be found via the Natural Resources Wales website or via the Environment Agency. If you identify any of the following types of pollution you should report it to Natural Resources Wales on 0800 807060.

Employing Techniques to Prevent Environmental Pollution

By employing simple techniques and small changes to working practices not only can you reduce the risk of causing pollution, avoiding potential fines and enforcement action, you can also reduce wastage and lower operating costs. Guidance to the public and industry on ways to avoid causing pollution can be found in Pollution Prevention Guidance Notes (PPG’s).

The Pollution Prevention Guidance Notes are produced by Natural Resources Wales, the Environment Agency, Northern Ireland Environment Agency and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency and are based on relevant legislation and reflect current best practices or techniques for a wide range of activities. Following the guidance will help you manage your environmental responsibilities to prevent pollution and comply with the law.

All industrial and commercial sites have the potential to damage our natural environment. If you keep your business safe, not only will you reduce the risk of causing pollution, but it also makes good business sense because you can:

  • Reduce operating costs.
  • Not lose valuable materials.
  • Reduce waste-disposal costs.
  • Avoid pollution clean-up costs.
  • Avoid higher insurance premiums.
  • Avoid enforcement action and fines.

You should always use good environmental practice as part of your sustainable business planning. Businesses that can show they’ve taken action to protect the environment and have a good environmental track record are at a competitive advantage, which is important in today’s economic climate. You’ll maintain your business reputation and project a positive social image if you can show that you’ve contributed to an improved local environment rather than being featured in negative publicity that surrounds a pollution incident.

Cost of Environmental Pollution

A pollution incident costs an average of £30,000 for businesses in fines, clean-up charges and production losses. But remediation costs – fish restocking, removing contaminated land or cleaning up groundwater – can be tens of thousands, if not millions, of pounds. In most cases, your standard liability insurance won’t cover this cost and your insurance premiums are likely to rise. But the effects of an incident go beyond direct financial fines and costs.