Guidance

Whistleblowing: report serious wrongdoing to the Environment Agency

You can report serious concerns about your employer to us, if you suspect wrongdoing in an area we regulate.

Applies to England

Reporting serious wrongdoing by your employer is known as ‘whistleblowing’. The Environment Agency is designated as a prescribed person for whistleblowing. This means you can report serious environmental wrongdoing by your employer to us in confidence. Your report must be in the public interest and show that environmental damage or a criminal offence:

  • has happened 
  • is happening 
  • is likely to happen 

You can come to us when you are unable to report wrongdoing to your employer. This may be because you have tried previously or are unhappy with the outcome.

You can raise a serious concern with us about a company of which you are a current or recent worker. All information provided to us is handled in: 

  • confidence 
  • accordance with our obligations under data protection legislation 

Who you can report

You can make a whistleblowing report to us about serious environmental damage regarding a company.

This applies if you work for a:

  • water company  
  • waste company  
  • nuclear company  
  • fisheries business  
  • farm or agricultural business  
  • chemical industry 
  • business causing an impact on the environment
  • business regulated by us

Whistleblowing is not suitable for reporting emergencies or environmental incidents that require an immediate or rapid response. Report these to the incident hotline

Protecting whistleblowers 

We commit to keeping your identity confidential, including from your employer, unless you waive this.

Whistleblowers are protected by law and there is specific government guidance for employees. You should not be treated unfairly or lose your job because you ‘blow the whistle’.

When reporting your concern, you must believe it is substantially true and in the public interest. This means it must affect others, for example the general public.  

To gain protection, the disclosure must be related to the environment and include one or more of the following:

  • a criminal offence
  • risk of or actual damage
  • a company is breaking the law in connection with its statutory obligations
  • covering up any wrongdoing

If you are unsure whether the disclosure is protected, you should seek independent advice.

Information you should provide 

Tell us: 

  • how we can contact you
  • a description of the issue
  • whether there is a current investigation

We may contact you if we need more information.  

Do not try to gather more supporting evidence without contacting us first. Doing as this can put you at risk and could invalidate our own investigations.  

Anonymous reports    

Whilst we accept anonymous reports, it limits our ability to investigate and provide feedback. 

How to report

Raise a serious concern about a company of which you are a current or recent worker by emailing raiseaconcern@environment-agency.gov.uk.

Do not send any photographs, videos, links or other attachments with your email. We cannot open these for security reasons. But we may contact you at a later date if you have material you wish to supply.

You will receive an automated email to confirm receipt. 

This service is not for Environment Agency employees and workers.

Get independent advice 

If you need independent advice about whistleblowing contact Protect, a specialist whistleblowing charity.  They can help explain:

  • what types of wrongdoing you can report
  • your legal rights
  • next steps if you decide to report something

Alternatively, you can also get advice from Citizens Advice, your trade union or a solicitor.

Raising other concerns 

You can also tell: 

If you work for the Environment Agency

If you work for us, follow the internal whistleblowing policy.

Environment Agency’s annual whistleblowing reports 

We have an obligation to act on third party disclosures made to us about environmental malpractice that are in the public interest. Read our annual whistleblowing reports.

Published 26 March 2024