Environmental concerns have never been a greater priority for the British public. To some extent or another, the vast majority of us are conscious of the impact that our actions might have on the natural world. This is reflected in our spending habits, and in our voting habits, too.
In tandem with this has come a rise in regulation which seeks to change the practices of British businesses, and to thereby safeguard the wellbeing of the environment. But exactly what laws does business have to abide by? It can vary from business to business, and the best way to be certain is to bring in an outside party for a risk advisory.
In the UK, there are myriad different laws that aim to address the various threats to the environment. While things like air pollution, water pollution, waste disposal and greenhouse emissions might seem like related problems, they need quite different legislative solutions.
The CLP regulation is a short-form way of referring to an EU system of labelling and packaging of hazardous substances, which was in turn informed by a United Nations system. The aim of these rules is to ensure harmony across the world when it comes to labelling, so that everyone knows exactly where any potential danger lies, and the risk of an accident is thereby diminished.
An environmental permit should be obtained prior to any activities which are likely to produce a significant amount of air pollution. The burning of certain sulphur-rich substances is entirely illegal, owing to the effect that these substances have on the air quality. More difficult to quantify are the rules governing nuisance. The fumes which your business produces must not be a nuisances to your neighbours. If you are creating dust, noise and smoke that passes over a neighbour’s property, then your local authority may ask you to deal with the problem. What’s more, you may face prosecution if you fail to comply after a warning.
Water and land contamination
Consent must be obtained before any effluent is dumped into the sewers. This will ensure that your business is not generating harmful toxins. This consent should be obtained from the local water company, and it may be conditional.
Businesses with a turnover greater than £2 million, or which handle more than 50 tonnes of packaging every year, must register with the compliance scheme of their environmental regulator. Any packaging you use should be either recovered or reused wherever possible. Moreover, waste should be disposed of by authorised contractors.