Fleet News

Legal update: Understanding your environmental duties

WHETHER your business releases fumes and dust into the air, flushes effluent/waste water/liquid down the drains, or routinely holds its waste on site, you have to be aware of the implications of your actions so that you don’t find your business on the wrong side of the law.

Why? There are a number of regulations, in particular clean air legislation, governing issues from how your fuel should be stored to the amount of sulphur in your liquid fuels. If you don’t know what the relevant legislation means for your business, you could be setting yourself up for investigation by the regulator and could end up being prosecuted.

Knowledge is power: forewarned is forearmed. For example, it is an offence to emit dark smoke from industrial premises.

Legislation is constantly changing so you need to keep up to speed in order to avoid getting caught out. For example, did you know that the Integrated Pollution Control (IPC) regime is being replaced by Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC)? This means that there is greater emphasis on a prevention ethos rather than cure.

IPPC considers not only the listed processes in IPC, but also energy efficiency, waste minimisation, vibration and noise. This illustrates how the maze of legislation affecting those working in the transport industry is becoming more complex.

Launched earlier this year, the NetRegs website (www.netregs.gov.uk) has been developed by the UK environmental regulators – the Environment Agency (England and Wales), the Environment and Heritage Service (Northern Ireland), and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency – to help small businesses understand their environmental obligations.

Research commissioned by NetRegs revealed that many smaller businesses have poor awareness of environmental legislation. The survey of more than 8,600 small businesses throughout the UK included 302 businesses working in the road and rail transport industries. It found that, of businesses working in this sector:
  • Only 19% of those asked could name any environmental regulations
  • Only 18% had an environmental policy in place
  • 32% wanted more help and advice on environmental matters

    This clearly demonstrates that there is a real need for an understanding of the range of legislation that could affect so many aspects of the working day and this is where NetRegs can help.
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