We will ensure that the service we provide to our customers, communities and partners is free from discrimination.
We will ensure our services are accessible to all and that the diverse needs of our customers are understood and met wherever reasonably possible.
We are responsible for protecting and improving the environment of England and Wales. We also have responsibility for protecting communities from the risk of flooding and managing water resources.
We are a public body - around 70% of our funding comes from government, and the rest comes from services we charge customers for. We are independent, but we work closely with the government to get the best possible results for the environment.
Although we work across England and Wales, we have regional offices working closely with other regional bodies to develop the right solutions for local environments. We also have area offices working with local authorities and others to tackle the immediate environmental issues in your area.
Our work includes:
- protecting people from flood;
- working with industry to protect the environment and human health;
- concentrating our effort on higher risk businesses - those that run potentially hazardous operations, or whose performance just isn't coming up to scratch
- helping business use resources more efficiently;
- taking action against those who don't take their environmental responsibilities seriously - every year we bring hundreds of offenders to justice, leading to millions of pounds of fines and stopping further damage to the environment;
- looking after wildlife - we complete around 400 projects every year to improve the places where threatened species live;
- helping people get the most out of their environment, including boaters and anglers. We sell over a million rod licences a year, many to young people coming into the sport for the first time. All the money we raise goes straight back into improving the places people fish;
- working with farmers to build their role as guardians of the environment, tackling pollution we cannot see as well as adding to the beauty of the countryside;
- helping to improve the quality of inner city areas and parks by restoring rivers and lakes;
- influencing and working with government, industry and local authorities to make the environment a priority.
We recognise that our obligations under The Equality Act 2010 require us to publish data and information relating to the make-up of our customers and stakeholders. In view of the Government Equalities Office guidance “light touch approach” recommendation to monitoring data, we have not been able to gather and analyse the make-up of these groups in a reliable, meaningful and usable way at this current time.
Some of our work across the Country
Our colleagues in Midlands Region held a lunch and learn event which gave staff an opportunity to find out more about Ecocongregation, the UK-based ecumenical organisation which encourages churches to consider environmental issues within a Christian context.
The guest speaker David Hughes, Ecocongregation's National Coordinator, talked about the background to Econcongregation, its current activities and also how it is working with other faith and community groups to share good practice. In addition, David explained how Ecocongregation aims to promote practical steps on reducing our carbon footprint and generally how to be more environment-friendly.
This talk was attended by several staff and was of interest to anyone with a passion for improving our environment, regardless of religious background. The audience also had an opportunity to ask David questions after his talk. This was the first in a series of lunchtime seminars around faith and the environment.
Young disabled people given opportunity to go fishing
The Environment Agency has organised an angling taster event in Hailsham, East Sussex for members of Eastbourne’s Buddy Scheme. The scheme provides support for disabled people by pairing them up them with a buddy, so that they can take part in events like this.
Project coordinator James Elphick said “The Buddy Scheme is a club for young disabled people and their buddy volunteers. We always like to try something new and when we were given the opportunity to go fishing with the Environment Agency a large group of young people were really keen to sign up.
“As the group leader, my worries were that they wouldn’t catch anything and get bored. I needn’t have worried as there were plenty of fish caught and Tim and Steve the coaches gave expert advice and a game to keep them interested over the course of the morning. I have had lots of feedback from the disabled young people saying that they would like to fish again, and may even become expert anglers themselves one day! We had a great time and a big thank you from the Buddy Scheme to everyone involved.”
George Ganda, Environment Agency Fisheries officer added “These youngsters have had a great time, showing that angling can be a fun activity for anyone. I would encourage everybody to try it. We constructed this fantastic disabled angling platform some time ago and it is great to see it being put to good use.
Working with China and Kenya to manage waste globally
Jane Zheng, a fellow on our Professional Fellowship International Exchange Programme visited South West region spent time learning about how we communicate with and influence businesses to be environmentally aware and minimise waste.
Jane also visited Howmet in Exeter, a manufacturing company that produces components for aircraft and gas turbines and which is ISO 14001 accredited. She also inspected a transfer station in Exeter, that recycles 81 per cent of materials it receives. Gitty Ankers took Jane on a tour of the Waste Neutral Compound and in-vessel composter at the Eden Project, one of the largest waste producers in Cornwall, with 1.8 million visitors a year.
The Devon and Cornwall Waste Compliance and Audit and Wessex Regulatory Water Quality teams hosted Peter Odhengo from Kenya for seven weeks. Peter is a part of the Commonwealth Professional Fellowship Programme, and this is the fifth year that the Environment Agency has hosted fellows from the Commonwealth and other countries. Gitty Ankers and Rosanne Broome mentored Peter. He joined us to learn about how we permit our waste facilities, inspect them and enforce any non-compliance.
We work closely with our teams across the Environment Agency to:
- engage with our local communities and improve the environment and flood awareness;
- engage with our Flood Risk team to ensure all our customers from hard to reach communities are fully informed and protected from flooding;
- improve access to the environment for people (for example building wheelchair accessible fishing platforms);
- share climate change implications at every opportunity with all our communities and customers from all diverse groups;
- ensure we are fair and inclusive.
We provide access to our sites for people with disabilities. If you have hearing difficulties we have a minicom service which is available by calling 03702 422 549. We offer translations of written information. We can also speak to you in your preferred language using an interpreting service from Language Line (a company that provides a confidential telephone translation service in over 150 languages).
Our diversity partners
We work closely with our diversity partners who offer tailored, practical and pragmatic advice and guidance on workplace issues.
- Employers Forum on Age (EfA)
- Employers Forum on Belief (EfB)
- Employers Forum on Disability (EfD)
- Opportunity Now
- Race for Opportunity (RfO)
Stonewall EfD use their definitive benchmarking tool to assess our organisation’s work on disability equality against best practice. We currently rank 16th overall at gold standard.
We take part annually in the Stonewall Workplace Equality index. This ranks employers under a number of categories such as how inclusive our policies are, what monitoring procedures are in place, our community engagement work and the success of our employee network.
Stonewall use their definitive benchmarking tool to assess our organisation’s work on sexual orientation equality against their best practice. In 2012 we were ranked 16th employer overall (out of 363 employers) and 1st employer in Wales. We have been the Top Welsh employer four years in a row. We are now the Top arms length body/government agency, and our LGBT Network was awarded Star Performer status for the third successive year.
We have excellent relationships with other public bodies, we work together to ensure all our customers’ needs are understood. These include:
- Defra – Department for the Environment and Rural Affairs
- Natural England
- Forestry Commission
- Welsh Assembly Government
- Countryside Council for Wales
We are actively involved with our committees. In each region, three committees advise on the operational performance of our functions, regional issues of concerns and regional implications of national policy proposals.
These committees are the Regional Fisheries, Ecology and Recreation Advisory Committee (RFERAC), Regional Flood and Coastal Committee (RFCC) and the Regional Environment Protection Advisory Committee (REPAC). There is also an advisory committee for Wales. Committee members are appointed under statutory membership schemes designed to achieve representation from a wide range of our stakeholders.
All REPAC meetings are advertised locally and the public is welcome to attend. You can find out more about our committees here including how to apply for vacant posts on the committees.
Our suppliers and contractors
Diversity and equality will be taken into account and reflected in our procurement activity. Contractors, partners and suppliers who deliver services on our behalf will be encouraged to share our aspirations for diversity.
Within the restrictions of EU Procurement legislation, we can only use Diversity criteria as part of the selection process where the purpose of the contract is directly impacted by the approach suppliers take to diversity matters, for example the provision of temporary staff. Our sustainable procurement risk assessment contains a set of generic diversity related questions which aim to raise awareness and identify actions that should be taken during the procurement process.
These questions lead the procurer into a set of diversity related questions that are asked of the supplier at pre-qualification or tender stage. The selection criteria will be based on the subject matter of the contract and where relevant, diversity criteria will be disclosed at the tender stage so suppliers are clear on what’s expected in their response.
In addition as part of our voluntary supplier development programme we work closely with key suppliers at a corporate level to improve the environmental and social performance of their organisation. We encourage suppliers to develop and improve their approach to embedding diversity and review their progress against their action plans.
We continually strive to maintain excellence in everything we do including our approach to sustainable procurement. We believe that periodic benchmarking of our performance helps to maintain that we are a leader in this field. We remain committed to initiatives such as Race for Opportunity and Stonewall, for which procurement is an integral part. Please see the link to our Sustainable Procurement Pages.
- Our principles
- Our governance
- Our people
- Our networks
- Our diversity initiatives
- Our customers, communities and partners