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This page sets out a list of key environmental legislation that all University buildings and sites must comply with. For University staff with any queries on the following information, or compliance with this legislation, please contact We also have a recording of a training session for University staff on 'Environmental Compliance: introduction to key risks and practical action', which we can send to any interested University staff, simply email us for a link.



For buildings with a total useful floor area of over 250m² which are 'frequently visited by the public' (for instance those with publically accessible cafes and museums, or which frequently receive non-University visitors), the Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations SI 2012/3118 requires Display Energy Certificates (DECs) to be produced and displayed in a prominent location. In addition, the regulations require air conditioning equipment with an effective rated output of more than 12kW to be inspected regularly by an energy assessor at least every 5 years. 

Refrigeration, fire protection or air conditioning equipment must have an F gas label added when installed, in order to comply with the Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases Regulations SI 2015/310. Labels must contain certain information.

Leak checking must be carried out regularly, every 3 to 12 months (depending on the size of the system). 

Energy - compliance checklist

Does the building have a Display Energy Certificate in a prominent location (if frequently visited by the public and over 250m² floor area)? If not contact the the Energy team to request one. 
Have all air conditioning equipment with an effective rated output of more than 12kW been inspected by an energy assessor within the last 5 years?
Do all refrigeration, fire protection and air conditioning equipment have an F gas label which includes the following information?
  • that the equipment contains an F gas
  • the industry name for the F gas, or the chemical name if there isn’t an accepted industry name
  • the mass of F gas in the equipment (in kg)
  • carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent mass of F gas in the equipment (in tonnes)
  • the global warming potential of the F gas.
Has leak checking of refrigeration, fire protection and air conditioning equipment been carried out within the last 3 to 12 months (depending on the size of the system)?

Trade Effluent

Trade premises must have consent from the sewerage undertaker (Anglian Water) to discharge trade effluent into a public sewer, to comply with the Water Industry Act 1991 Chapter 56 (see more on Trade Effluent in Anglian Water's leaflet). Anglian Water may grant consent however are able to set certain conditions which will be in the form of a 'Trade Effluent Consent’ (TEC). TECs typically set limits on parameters such as volume and flow rate, pH and temperature, as well as indicators of effluent quality such as chemical oxygen demand, suspended solids, sulphates, fat, oil and grease. There are also a series of hazardous pollutants which cannot be discharged into drains.

Trade Effluent - compliance checklist

Is your building subject to a Trade Eflluent Consent?
Is your building's effluent regularly tested, and are you aware how to get hold of trade effluent testing results?
Are relevant (i.e. laboratory) staff aware of trade effluent requirements and how to comply with them? 
Who is the first contact for trade effluent issues within your building or institution?
Do you know what to do in the event of a spillage to surface or foul water drain?
Are staff aware of procedures to contact The Sustainability Team in the event of a change to activities on site which could affect trade effluent discharges?

Further guidance on disposals to drains including Trade Effluent requirements is available, or contact the Sustainability Team for further advice.

Pollution to water, land or air

There are four key pieces of legislation that set requirements for pollution to water, land and air; the Environmental Protection Act 1990 Chapter 43, the Anti-Pollution Works Regulations 1999 (SI 1999/1006), the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations SI 2010/675, and the Water Resources Act Section 161A

The legislation all relate to prevention of pollution to water, land or air. Specifically:

  • Anti-pollution works notices can be served to any person whose activities are deemed to have caused or are considered likely to cause any poisonous, noxious or polluting matter or any solid waste matter to enter controlled waters. 
  • The Environment Agency can serve a works notice under of the on any person who has caused or knowingly permitted the pollution (or risk of pollution) to a water course, requiring them to carry out anti-pollution / preventative works and operations, and can recover any associated costs. 

Preventing pollution - compliance checklist

Is there anything on your site which could be accidentally released and cause a pollution incident?
Do employees know what to do in the event of a spill (are they trained in spill response / cleanup procedures)?
Are containment systems and devices on site? Are they sufficient to control a release or spill?
Does the facility/building have adequate and accessible spill control equipment?
Do you know who to contact in the event of a spill?
Are drainage plans available in the event of a spill? Do you know where surface water drains on site are?

Waste and recycling

The Waste (England and Wales) Regulations SI 2011/988 make it an offence not to apply the waste hierarchy duty, collection of waste duty or collected waste duty. Part 5 requires businesses produce, collect, transport, recover or dispose of waste to apply the waste hierarchy. Part 9 requires anyone importing, producing, carrying, storing, treating or disposing of controlled waste to take measures to ensure that waste is only transferred to an authorised person and that all waste transfers are accompanied by a waste transfer note.

Waste management - compliance checklist

Is waste stored in a secure place (i.e. not subject to scavenging by vandals, thieves, children, trespassers or animals)?
Are suitable containers used for waste to prevent it escaping (i.e. not subject to corrosion, wear, breakage, spillage)?
Are containers clearly labelled with the type of waste they contain?
Are covers used to stop waste blowing away, or falling while stored/transported?
If rain could cause contaminated run-off or prevent the waste from being reused, are waterproof covers used?
Can waste be safely moved (i.e. containers are not too heavy to lift, and have suitable handles)?
Have precautions been taken to ensure no risk of fire (particularly for batteries), cuts, and mercury inhalation (from broken fluorescent tubes) etc?
Are 2 years' worth of waste records available, including the following?
  • consignment notes 
  • consignee returns – you’ll get these quarterly from businesses that receive your waste (consignees)
  • any related documents, eg ‘carrier schedules’ (list of carriers when there is more than one), records of rejected loads
If these documents aren’t accurate or complete, is there a record of any missing information?
Note: there are different requirements if the waste is classified as hazardous - see section below.
Do waste transfer notes include the following information?
- identify the waste to which it relates by reference to the appropriate EWC codes;
- describe the waste;
- state the quantity of waste;
- state whether it is loose or what type of container it is stored in;
- state the time and place of transfer,
- state the SIC code of the transferor (for University this is 85422 – note previously the code was 85.42 so you may see this on older documents);
- state the waste carriers licence number, environmental permit holders number or exemption number
- confirm that the transferor has carried out the waste hierarchy duty.

Hazardous waste

The Hazardous Waste (England and Wales) Regulations SI 2005/894 set out the rules for assessing whether a waste is hazardous or not; i.e. whether it is considered to be harmful to human health or the environment. Hazardous waste may include:

  • Chemicals
  • Asbestos
  • Solvents, paints, inks and resins
  • Print toner/cartridges
  • Batteries
  • Fluorescent tubes (e.g. energy saving light bulbs), and cathode ray tubes
  • Oils (except edible ones), e.g. car oil, and oil filters, as well as oil-contaminated items (gloves.rags etc).
  • Equipment containing ozone depleting substances, eg fridges
  • Waste electronic equipment (e.g.TVs and computer monitors, fridges and freezers etc.)
  • Hazardous waste containers & packaging.

Hazardous waste management - compliance checklist

Are written instructions displayed for storing and disposing of hazardous waste?
Are records kept about hazardous waste and where it’s located?
Has a risk assessment been carried out, to identify what the risks associated with hazardous waste are, and how to control them?
Are regularly checks carried out for leaks, deteriorating containers or other potential risks?
Are liquid hazardous wastes kept in a dedicated area, with a bund or barrier to stop liquid leaking, eg into a drain? If so is it clearly labelled and an inventory maintained?
Are records of hazardous waste kept for 3 years, including a consignment note for waste removed from the premises?
Are consignment notes filled out correctly, including detail on:
  • the process giving rise to the waste;
  • the SIC code for the process (for University this is 85422 – previously 85.42)
  • a description of the waste;
  • the relevant EWC code (this can be found online); 
  • the quantity;
  • the chemical/biological component;
  • the physical form (e.g. liquid / gas)
  • the hazardous code
  • container type, number and size

Feel free to contact the Sustainability Team with any queries on legal compliance on your University site.