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Environmental damage regulations: guidance and reporting incidents

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This page will help you understand how to apply the Environmental damage (prevention and remediation) regulations 2009 and to report any incidents.


The guidance describes the main parts of the regulations, when they apply and what is required when they do.

It sets out our views on how they should be applied and how particular terms should be interpreted.

The guidance also explains where to go for further information.

It is not statutory guidance.

The guidance is aimed at:

  • those carrying out activities that may cause imminent threats of ‘environmental damage’ or actual  ‘environmental damage’
  • the authorities responsible for enforcing the Regulations
  • those who are interested in the application of the Regulations.

The annexes cover the more technical aspects of guidance. This includes:

  • how to determine if there is ‘environmental damage’
  • deciding what measures are appropriate as remediation.

The guidance to assist enforcing authorities and operators to the Regulations was updated in November 2009. A short guide is also available below.

From 1 April 2013 Natural Resources Wales (external link) became the regulatory authority in Wales for a wide range of environmental legislation. They have inherited the roles of the Countryside Council for Wales, the Environment Agency and Forestry Commission in Wales. The guidance should be read with this in mind.

Visit: The Environmental Damage (Prevention and Remediation) Regulations 2009 (external link)

Visit: Explanatory memorandum (external link)

Visit: Environmental Liability Directive (external link)

Reporting Incidents

Enforcing authorities will need to report details of all qualifying incidents to us using the incident return below. Instructions are on the first worksheet.

You can download the annual incident return template on the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs website (external link).

Incident data should be sent to

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