The way we do business. Find out about our approach to regulating and how we're making it better.
What is better regulation?
While society and European legislation are demanding ever-higher environmental standards, businesses need to be able to meet their responsibilities and still run their business. We all expect companies and individuals to behave responsibly.
We focus our resources on environmental priorities. We work more with businesses and individuals whose activities have higher environmental risks or who are struggling to comply with the standards of their environmental permits to help them reduce their impact on the environment. We reward good performers – and yet we’re tough on those who don’t meet acceptable standards. It means companies and individuals complying with (and often exceeding) legal requirements without constant supervision where it is not needed.
Better regulation is how we work. We’re improving the way we protect the environment.
Traditional regulation such as controlling abstractions from, and emissions to, the environment will continue to be important. But we believe we can be smarter about where we focus our resources. We can also use other methods where appropriate. For example partnership work, trading schemes and negotiated agreements. We will use evidence about the quality of our environment and the performance of those we regulate to target our work.
Better regulation – the way we do business
As a ‘better regulator’, our approach is one based on the relative risks posed by different activities: this ensures society and the environment are protected in an efficient way, and one which also minimises the burden of regulation on businesses. We focus our resources on the highest environmental risks and the poorest-performing businesses to make sure we are achieving the environment outcomes in our corporate strategy.
We work in partnership with people and businesses we regulate to develop and put in place new approaches to regulation and recognise and reward good environmental performance.
We follow five principles of better regulation:
- transparent – with clear rules and processes
- accountable – we explain our performance
- consistent – the same approach is applied within and across sectors
- proportionate – our actions are governed by the environmental risk
- targeted – we focus on the most important environmental outcomes
What we aim for
We know we’re getting it right when you tell us:
- our advice has helped you do the right thing for the environment
- our permitting systems are easy to use
- we explained the reason for our inspection or audit and we told you what we’re trying to achieve
- we only ask you for information we really need, and we don’t ask for the same information twice
- we’re working together with other regulators
- we identify persistent offenders quickly
- we use intelligence to tackle environmental crime.
Find out about our approach to regulating. It's called Delivering for the environment and describes the different ways we regulate.
Tell us what you think
We’re continuing to develop new approaches to regulation, recognising and rewarding good environmental performance. We want to work in partnership with the businesses we regulate to help us do this. Neither we nor Defra have all the answers and we want to hear your ideas on how to simplify regulation of your business.
They also give guidance on the type of information to include in your submission. Suggestions for the Environment Agency will be forwarded to us and we will respond in 90 days or sooner when possible.