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How we assess business compliance

We use two stages in our assessment of how well businesses comply with environmental legislation

  1. A Risk Assessment that helps decide how often we need to check compliance
  2. Environmental Permit compliance checking through visits and assessments

Natural Resources Wales aims to apply similar regulatory tools and systems as other regulators in the UK but with an approach that supports our wider outcome of ensuring natural Resources are managed sustainably.

Good environmental performance underpins a successful business. We work hard to provide advice and guidance to good performers so that they operate in ways that protect and improve the environment. We focus our attention on poor performers, taking action against businesses that persistently fail to comply with environmental legislation.

1. Risk Assessment

To help us focus our resources on regulating the higher environmental risks and/or poorly performing businesses we use a risk assessment tool called Operational risk appraisal (Opra). The Opra assessment provides a risk-rating, or profile, which we use as part of our compliance assessment process.

The Opra profile for an activity also determines how much we charge businesses for regulating an activity. The poorest performing sites are charged up to three times the fees for a comparable good performing site. This reflects the amount of effort we have to put into addressing their poor performance.

2. Environmental Permit compliance checking

To capture the detail of our environmental permit compliance checks we use an IT system called the Compliance Classification Scheme (CCS). It is applied for all business sectors who are regulated under the Environmental Permitting Regulations. This ensures all non-compliances with permit conditions are reported in a consistent way.

The information from the CCS is then used to:

  • Categorises non-compliance based on an activity’s potential to cause environmental damage
  • Inform our enforcement response to any breach of a permit condition
  • Provide detail on how many permit breaches occur on a site in a year which then contributes to updating that sites Opra risk rating or profile

We use four CCS categories to describe the degree of risk associated with each permit breach:

  • CCS category 1 - had the potential to have a major environmental impact
  • CCS category 2 - had the potential to have a significant environmental impact
  • CCS category 3 - had the potential to have a minor environmental impact

CCS category 4 - had no potential to have an environmental impact.

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