Agency still favours audits

The Environment Agency is making fewer inspections of heavy industry, relying instead on less frequent, but more in-depth audits

The Environment Agency’s move towards risk-based regulation has led to considerable change in the way it monitors firms’ compliance with environmental permits.

Instead of quick, often unannounced, inspections it is moving to audits or part audits, which are more in-depth assessments evaluating the quality of management systems and procedures.

Auditing now forms the majority of the agency’s regulatory efforts, with inspections under the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) regime continuing to decline year-on-year. Inspections fell from 1,269 in 2008/09 to 1,063 in 2009/10, when there were about 3,400 permitted installations. This excludes waste sites and hazardous waste processors.

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