Site inspections: What to expect and how to react

Legal experts give their advice on what to do in the event of a surprise visit from the regulator.

The Environment Agency’s (EA’s) online guidance states that inspections are usually planned, but can be unannounced. EA staff will “look around your site and ask questions about what you’re doing. They may ask to see documents or talk to your staff”, it says.

Sarah Lovell, principal consultant at engineering and environmental consultancy Ricardo, says that site inspections are generally unannounced. 

“The idea from the EA is to catch people at business as usual.” She advises operators to have their paperwork in order should, for example, the inspecting officer want to take a look at waste transfer notes. 

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