Regulated businesses are also becoming more environmentally responsible, with total greenhouse gas emissions down by 24% since 2000. Methane emissions from the landfill sector fell 61% since 2002, the reports show.
Air emissions from regulated businesses continue to reduce, in 2015 total oxides of nitrogen reduced by 15% and oxides of sulphur by 23% from the previous year.
The Environment Agency has also worked hard on reducing the burden of regulation on all businesses they regulate. In the financial year 2015 to 2016 the EA saved businesses £32 million, against a target of £20 million.
The reports show that the Environment Agency continues to take a tough approach to those who flout the rules and damage the environment, with businesses being fined a total of £3.6 million in 2015 for environmental offences.
These figures are set out in a series of annual reports published by the Environment Agency today on regulation, pollution and waste.
Harvey Bradshaw, Executive Director Environment and Business, said:
This report highlights some significant improvements in the environmental performance of regulated businesses - which directly benefits people, the environment and the economy. Over the longer term these trends have been significant, and will provide a lasting legacy to the environment, as well as real financial savings to businesses.
The sites we regulated caused less serious pollution incidents, less air emissions and we closed almost 1,000 illegal waste sites. The Environment Agency will continue to take swift action to protect the environment, raise standards of poor performers and use new techniques to disrupt illegal activity.
We urge businesses to do even more, in some sectors pollution is still having an impact on our air, land and water and the Environment Agency will continue to work with industry groups to encourage good practice.
Further figures show the Environment Agency’s work to regulate the waste industry is supporting legitimate industry and helping to tackle the serious issue of waste crime.
Nearly 1,000 illegal waste sites - which cause misery for local communities - were stopped in 2015/16 - more than the 2 previous years. Illegal waste sites continue to be a challenge and a priority for the Environment Agency.
The number of poor performing sites fell by 20% from 2014 to 2015 and there was a decline in persistently poor performing waste sites, 97% of regulated sites were rated satisfactory or above.
New approaches designed to disrupt illegal activity are increasingly being adopted but the Environment Agency will always prosecute in appropriate cases.
Waste recycling and treatment rates continue to rise, increasing from 56% in 2012 to 65% in 2015.
Notes to Editor
- Each year the Environment Agency publishes data and reports on the performance of the businesses we regulate (in England) and the effectiveness of this regulatory approach. The purpose of the sustainable business reporting is to provide an assessment, inform our priorities so we focus on the higher risks, continue the most successful approaches and use the findings to influence businesses to improve their environmental performance.
Full copies of the Sustainable Business Reports are available: