• Sofia Eugeniou

Environment Agency continues its operations remotely

Image credit: UNISON South West

With social distancing rules in place since the outbreak of the new coronavirus, ensuring (environmental) legal requirements are met by businesses and industry can be tricky business for the Environment Agency (EA).

The EA has stated that it is continuing to protect people and the environment during the outbreak by using technology to carry out its role as an "effective regulator" where face-to-face visits are restricted due to government guidelines.

Virtual inspections have been carried out through the use of online services such as Zoom, checking CCTV video footage and requesting specific evidence to prove the sites are storing waste correctly.

The EA says it has been successful so far in carrying out its inspections whilst claiming "coronavirus is not an excuse to operate illegally".

One example of a successful operation carried out remotely by the EA is an interaction with Tom White Waste, in which a Zoom meeting was carried out once all necessary paperwork and photographs were forwarded over to the environmental regulatory body. A site tour was also carried out in real-time using Tom White Waste's CCTV to check their sites complied with the regulations of their permits.

The EA was satisfied the company showed good practice and complied with the regulations.

In the modern, tech-dominated era, the necessary work of organisations such as the EA can continue, and regulations can continue to be enforced where required.

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