Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland
When you work in or near watercourses, it is important that run-off from your site does not contain grass clippings, soil or sediment.
If these pollutants enter a stream or river it can have serious effects on the life in it.
In Northern Ireland you must have consent from the Rivers Agency before you place structures in any waterway that are likely to affect its drainage. Contact your local Rivers Agency office for further information.
DAERA has produced a handbook is for landowners and people and organisations involved in carrying out activities that may alter the physical characteristics or flows of rivers and other waterbodies. The activities covered include dredging and substrate addition, removal of bankside vegetation, bed and bank reinforcements, flow manipulation and culverting.
In Scotland, if you carry out building and engineering works in inland waters or carry out activities close to waters that could significantly affect the water environment, you must either:
Any static plant or machinery used within 10m of any:
must be placed on a suitable drip tray with a capacity equal to 110% of the capacity of the fuel tank that supplies the equipment. You must make sure that the equipment you use does not leak oil.
Empty drip trays regularly to make sure that they can contain any spills.
Guidance for Pollution Prevention (GPP) 5 contains guidance on measures you can take to avoid causing pollution during building and engineering work.
If you pollute the water environment, you are probably committing an offence.
You should only strip land of vegetation when it is absolutely necessary. You should carry out the work in short sections to avoid bare earth being exposed for long periods of time. This should help to minimise the risk of run-off, soil erosion and silt getting into watercourses.
Use buffer strips (strips of land where the vegetation is not disturbed) along the edge of watercourses to avoid run-off containing pesticides or soil.
Where possible you should work across slopes, rather than down them. This will help to minimise the risk of soil erosion.
Use earth banks and cut-off ditches to channel the contaminated drainage away from surface waters and drains.
You should divert clean water away from the stripped area to avoid contamination.
Plan ahead and carry out operations leading to bare or disturbed soil in periods of dry weather.
Ensure that dirty water does not enter surface water drainage systems.
Ensure that sediment does not clog porous paving, filter drains or other sustainable urban drainage systems.
Ensure that grass cuttings and other cut vegetation do not enter the water environment.
The Northern Ireland Environment Agency has published a short guide to the duty of care responsibilities including advice and information for waste producers, carriers and those accepting, storing and treating waste.
Any person intending to alter the use or management of areas of uncultivated or semi-natural land must obtain prior approval from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).
Read more on the DAERA website
The NetRegs team at SEPA, in partnership with The Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales and a number of industry bodies have produced 9 new GPPs to replace out of date PPGs. More are coming! Check the available topics
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