• KWVR at Haworth

  • Rodley Nature Reserve Fish Pass

    Rodley Nature Reserve Fish Pass

  • Green Ripples

  • Castleford Millenium Bridge

  • River Aire at Ferrybridge

  • Malham Cove

  • Saltaire

Author Archives: Geoff Roberts

Enforcement Undertakings

Sewage coming from a pipe
What are Enforcement Undertakings?

Rivers face many challenges, including pollution incidents for which large organisations are deemed responsible. Enforcement Undertakings are a way for organisations that have caused such occurrences to proactively address the issue they have caused, either in the exact place of the incident or in the case of rivers on the same catchment.

They do this by finding an appropriate body to carry out the work, through the Environment Agency as part of the agency’s civil sanctions procedures.

The polluter must fund a charity, such as The Aire Rivers Trust, to deliver an environmental project – ideally this should correct or offset the damage caused.

The advantage of Enforcement Undertakings is that they encourage better environmental practice without government intervention. This allows well-meaning businesses to quickly remedy damage and avoid prosecution – a long and costly process for all, which if successful puts money into government accounts instead of delivering environmental improvement.

How Enforcement Undertakings Work

When a business finds that it has breached an environmental law, it can contact the Environment Agency and offer an Enforcement Undertaking. The offer will include actions that the business will commit to, which must ensure two things: the same laws are not broken in the future, and any environmental damage caused will be completely offset or repaired.

Early applications after the incident in question are more likely to result in the EA accepting the process of Enforcement Undertakings.

The legal framework for Enforcement Undertakings can be found in the Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act 2008.

For just one lawyer’s views on the EU process, you might look here.

What we can offer

The Aire Rivers Trust has vast experience working with communities to deliver river improvements and getting residents to take an active part in looking after rivers, which face many issues including pollution.

We value rivers and waterways as vital resources for wildlife as well as spaces for people to enjoy.

We can help polluters understand their impact and design projects that fully compensate and deliver an improved environment. Additionally, we can advise the polluter how they can develop strategies to prevent future incidents from occurring.

We have extensive experience of carrying out river improvements. If you would like to learn more about how we can help deliver an Enforcement Undertaking please contact our Chairman in the first instance.


Does it matter who gets the credit?

It’s amazing what can be achieved if it doesn’t matter who gets the credit In all my years as a manager/leader, the title of this piece has been one of my touchstones. You see, while I won’t turn the odd bit of personal glory down, I do not actively seek it; I am much more… Continue Reading

Flood Risk Management Strategy

Today Emma Howard Boyd, Environment Agency Chair, will be launching the start of the consultation on the draft national flood and coastal erosion risk management strategy for England. The draft strategy marks the culmination of engagement with over 90 organisations. The Secretary of State for Defra in his climate change speech last year recognised that… Continue Reading

Nature Connectedness

Many Rivers Trusts offer public engagement activities. This is partly in recognition of the need to involve local people in conservation, for reasons of sustainability, support and equity. It has always been assumed that the more, better contact, the more likely positive outcomes will result. Recent research is showing what ‘better’ means, in terms of… Continue Reading

Organisational politics in a rivers trust

“Politics are rife in our organisation” or “There are no politics where we work” . The truth typically lies somewhere in-between. In my last blog, I said I would write another about the role of office politics in our organisations. With all the hassle we see at national level with Politics, you might well ask… Continue Reading

Implementing the Eels Regulations

The Environment Agency have just circulated briefing note describing how they are going about implementing the 2009 (YES!) Eels Regulations. You can access it by clicking on the photo. We know no more than is in this briefing, but see that there is an EA contact listed at the bottom of the briefing. Enjoy! Continue Reading

Leadership in a Rivers Trust

Some readers may be aware that as well as being Chairman of The Aire Rivers Trust, I am also a specialist in organisational/personal development and leadership (that’s what earned me money for 30 years and what still contributes to the bank account). So I read this article from Harvard Business Review with increasing recognition of… Continue Reading

INNS along the Aire

Every year, around now, our thoughts turn to how we are going to deal with the problem of invasive species in our rivers. We have been campaigning and acting for years on this topic, most especially in connection with the nasty Giant Hogweed. Other species pose a threat to wildlife, property of flood risk but… Continue Reading

Sometimes the cost is too high – refusing a grant

I have just done something rather unusual for a charity. I have turned down the offer of a £23,766 grant. Why would I do that? Firstly because the grant awarding body was not prepared to pay the cost of the work required. Secondly because they would not contribute to our corporate overheads (Full Cost Recovery).… Continue Reading

Mitigating the impact of riverside works by the Environment Agency

Mitigating the impact of riverside works by the Environment Agency

Sometimes it is necessary for the Environment Agency to do works along our riverbanks to reduce the risk of future flooding. These can include removing poorly rooted trees (so they do not subsequently wash downriver and block bridges), removing vegetation from flood banks (to enable proper maintenance and to reduce the potential for breaching the… Continue Reading