Last edited 20 Jul 2021

Environment Agency

The Environment Agency is an executive non-departmental public body (NDPB). It was created by the Environment Act 1995, and came into existence on 1 April 1996 when it took over the roles and responsibilities of the National Rivers Authority, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Pollution, the waste regulation authorities and responsibility for issuing flood warnings to the public.

It was established to protect and improve the environment and to contribute to sustainable development by implementing the policies of UK government departments and the Welsh Government. However, on 1 April 2013, the part of the Environment Agency that covered Wales was merged into Natural Resources Wales, which also brought together the work of the Countryside Council for Wales, Forestry Commission Wales, and some functions of Welsh Government.

The Environment Agency has a board of 11 members appointed by the Secretary for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The Board delegates day-to-day management to the Chief Executive and its more than 11,000 employees. Its Head Office is in Bristol, with a further office at Ergon House in London. It is divided into six regions; South East, South West, Midlands, Anglian, North West and Yorkshire and North East.

In its annual report 2012-2013, the Environment Agency wrote: ‘we operate at the place where environmental change has its greatest impact on people’s lives. We reduce the risks to people and properties from flooding; make sure there is enough water for people and wildlife; protect and improve water, land and air quality and apply the environmental standards within which industry can operate.'

It acts as an environmental regulator, environmental operator, and environmental adviser, provide technical information and advice to national and local governments to support their roles in policy and decision-making and working with businesses and other organisations to help them use resources wisely.

It has statutory duties in relation to:

Its core processes are:

The Environment Agency works closely with a range of government bodies throughout the UK:

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