Water Industry Update: EA retires PPG publications
– SEPA, NRW & NIEA to create re-branded version

  • Environmental Agency will no longer fund PPG’s
  • SEPA, NRW & NIEA to create a re-branded document of PPG4

As of 14th December 2015, the Pollution Prevention Guidance (PPG), Pollution Prevention Pays (PPP) and their allied publications have been retired from the website of the Environmental Agency (EA) and can now only be found in the National Archives. This is part of the review and reform of external guidance that the EA are undertaking as part of Defra’s ‘Smarter Guidance Project’. The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) will continue with a rebranded version of the PPG guidance.

PPGs have previously included guidance on good practice to avoid pollution to air, land and water. Previously, PPGs were produced by the Environmental Alliance – the Environment Agency (EA), for England and Wales, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). The EA led the process, taking charge of both writing and co-ordinating the review of the PPGs, with NIEA and SEPA signing off final approved versions.

Change of Regulations

The government’s ‘Red Tape Challenge’ is currently reviewing more than 21,000 regulations and rules to see which ones can be either removed or improved. The Environmental Agency website claims, “Defra’s Smarter Environmental Regulation Review is reducing unnecessary complexity, inconsistency and duplication of environmental regulation and making compliance with legal obligations more transparent and easier.”

As the PPGs still remain popular, SEPA believe that is it beneficial to continue to deliver similar environmental good practice guidance, with more emphasis on business activities as opposed to information on just environmental legal requirements. SEPA, NIEA and (National Resources Wales) NRW are working on a replacement version of what was PPG4, with SEPA leading the review. NIEA and NRW will contribute their expertise to the evaluation of new versions and skilled organisations within the industry will also be sought out to provide feedback on the documents.

PPG4 Replacement Document

The PPG4 replacement document will help to identify the best sewage treatment and disposal option dependent on circumstance. It can be applied to a new development, replacing or upgrading existing facilities or moving to a property with non-mains drainage.

Andrew Baird is Technical Director and wastewater treatment specialist at WPL, as well as being convener of the British Water Packaged Treatment Plant Forum.  As convenor of the group, Andrew ensures that bodies and organisations within other sectors of the water industry are fully up-to-date by lobbying the government and governing bodies.

Baird says, “The British Water Forum for packaged waste water treatment plants exists to help create best practice in the industry, lobby for reform and produce guidance used by wastewater designers, installers and maintenance companies. The PPG4 guide lines and advice helped to regulate the industry in the UK and whilst it is being adopted in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, we believe it will have a detrimental environmental impact in England and further fragments the cohesive cooperation that did exist across all the agencies.”