EA briefing on Climate Change Adaptation
The EA are changing their approach to regulating businesses with regard to climate change adaptation. They want to support businesses to maintain compliance and have issued a briefing on how their approach within EPR permitting will change and briefing note with further details on why planning for climate change is important and how businesses can successfully manage climate risks.
The EA are focussing on an existing requirement to consider climate change adaptation within sites management systems and will support business to update their management systems over time, prioritising highest hazard activities first. By 2026 they expect all permitted activities to have robust climate change adaptation planning embedded into their management systems. When the EA assess management systems (through routine compliance activity), they will offer advice and guidance initially but by applying increasing scrutiny of management systems over time, they expect to see all sites fully incorporating climate change adaptation planning by 2026.
All new applications as well as all existing permit holders will need to include an assessment of risks and proposed mitigations resulting from climate change to and from their businesses via their management systems. From the 31st August 2022 there will no longer be an additional risk assessment process for new bespoke waste and installations permit applications.
The overarching Management Systems guidance explains the need to consider extreme weather events in contingency plans and in accident prevention management plans. There is also an existing section ‘a changing climate’ which says ‘It is important you consider whether your operations could be affected by a changing climate and that you plan for this’. This has been the case since 2019.
To support operators the EA have clarified how to comply with the existing requirement within their overarching MS system guidance: Develop a Management System: environmental permits.