Industrial pollution


Pollution from industrial installations and processes takes many forms. Some can cause air pollution, others may cause water or land to become contaminated, while others may cause nuisance to local residents through the noise, dust or odour they emit. Reducing pollution is also important since external air quality is the main determinant of indoor air quality, regulated in respect of workplaces under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and in respect of homes under legislation such as the Housing Act 2004. Many air pollutants also have a complex relationship with climate change.

Environmental health practitioners work with industry operators to apply the best available techniques to reduce the amount of pollution caused by thousands of ‘regulated facilities’, in order to protect the environment and minimise the risks to public health. The Environment Agency also plays a part in controlling pollution from larger industrial sources.

On 6 April 2008 a new regime for controlling industrial pollution came into force. The new regime – called Environmental Permitting (EP) - has streamlined and combined previously separate waste and pollution control systems. It covers all those industrial and waste management activities which have the potential to harm the environment or human health.

The Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has a section dedicated to Environmental Permitting on the GOV.UK website from where you can find further information.




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