Online guide to green laws

Almost nine out of ten small businesses cannot name any environmental legislation that affects them, a statistic that has prompted environment agency Netregs to produce comprehensive guidelines on its website.


Almost nine out of ten small businesses cannot name any environmental legislation that affects them, a statistic that has prompted environment agency Netregs to produce comprehensive guidelines on its website.

Almost nine out of ten small businesses cannot name any environmental legislation that affects them, a statistic that has prompted environment agency Netregs to produce comprehensive guidelines on its website.

While 86 per cent of those polled couldn’t name any environmental legislation whatsoever, 47 per cent wanted more advice and information on the subject.

NetRegs, a product of UK environmental regulators the Environment Agency in England and Wales, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and the Environment and Heritage Service (Northern Ireland), will send free email updates about environmental issues to SMEs that register. These can be personalised to provide information relating to specific industry sectors, as well as updates on subjects including water and air emissions.

Some of the key environmental legislation currently affecting small businesses includes:

Environment Protection Act 1990
Includes the IPC regime, duty of care for waste, waste management licensing, and the identification and remediation of contaminated land. Most businesses will be affected by this Act.

Producer Responsibility (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2005
Require those with a specified turnover/quantity of packaging to register and achieve recycling targets. A business will be affected by the regulations if it manufactures, packs, sells or imports more than 50 tonnes of packaging per year and has a turnover of more than £2m per year.

Environmental Protection (Duty of Care) Regulations 1991
Control the storage, handling and disposal of waste. Applies to all businesses that produce or dispose of waste.

Hazardous Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2005
Control the storage, handling and disposal of waste that is hazardous or dangerous. Those potentially affected include the Chemical, Agricultural, Waste and Construction industries.

Water Industry Act 1991
Relates to the appointment and duties of sewerage undertakers. Those affected include water companies and sewage treatment works.

Water Resources Act 1991
Relates to the provision of discharge consents, abstraction licensing and flood defence. This Act potentially affects all those who make discharges into water or abstract water including the Construction, Agricultural and
Fishing industries.

The Pollution Prevention and Control (England and Wales) Regulations 2000
This controls emissions to air, land and water from industrial processes. Those potentially affected include the Construction, Agricultural, Chemical, Water and Food & Drink industries.

To register for the e-alert service or for more information on the environmental legislation affecting small businesses, visit www.netregs.gov.uk.

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