Over recent years, governments, particularly those in the Western developed world, have come to realise that changes have to be made if the situation is to improve. To that end a whole range of legislation has been introduced and there promises to be a great deal more in the coming years.

Environmental Protection Act 1990

The Environmental Protection Act 1990 contains 164 sections, arranged in 9 parts, supported by 16 schedules – a massive piece of legislation covering a great variety of topics.

The three key areas are summarised below:

Part 1 – Integrated Pollution Control and Local Authority Air Pollution Control – This section focuses on preventing & reducing the release of substances into the environment.

Part 2 – Waste on Land. This section puts a prohibition on unauthorised or harmful deposit, treatment or disposal of waste, placing a Duty of Care on the organisation to prevent escape of harmful substances.

Part 3 – Statutory Nuisances and Clean Air requires the Local Authority to regularly inspect the area and to deal with problems such as Smoke, Fumes, Dust, Smell, Noise, and animals

Environment Act 1995

This Act was instrumental in creating the Environment Agency and it deals with the following:

  • Air Quality
  • Water Quality
  • Contaminated Land
  • Waste


The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive came into force in January 2007 and has since been amended multiple times. The directive aims to both reduce the amount of Electrical and Electronic waste being produced and encourage everyone to reuse, recycle and recover it.

RoHS is the Directive on the Restriction of use of certain Hazardous Substances in electrical or electronic equipment. The regulations limit the use of hazardous substances such as lead and cadmium in the manufacture of new electrical and electronic equipment placed on the market anywhere in the European Union.

There are eight categories of items which covered by the WEEE and RoHS directives. These are:

  • Large household appliances
  • Small household appliances
  • IT and telecoms equipment
  • Consumer equipment
  • Lighting equipment
  • Electrical and electronic tools
  • Toys, leisure and sport equipment
  • Medical devices

The main objectives of the WEEE Directive requires producers of electrical and electronic equipment to finance at end of life:

  • Collection arrangements
  • Treatment
  • Meeting targets (recycling and recovery)

Environmental Permitting Regulations 2010

The Environmental Permitting Regulations (England and Wales) 2010 were introduced on 6 April 2010 and replace the 2007 Regulations.

These regulations cover the storage, treatment, transport and disposal of hazardous waste. Waste is considered to be hazardous when it might be harmful to human health or the environment.

The Waste Framework Directive

There are several directives issued by the European Union which must also be adhered to.

One key example is The Waste Framework Directive which requires member states to ensure that waste is recovered or disposed of without endangering human health and without using processes and methods which could harm the environment.

Climate Change Act 2008

The Climate Change Act 2008 made the UK the first country in the world to have a legally binding long-term framework to cut carbon emissions. It sets out the Government’s commitment to reduce the UKs carbon emissions to net zero by the year 2050.

The Act introduces the concept of Carbon Budgets. A carbon budget places a restriction on the total amount of greenhouse gases the UK can emit over a 5-year period. The UK is the first country to set legally binding carbon budgets.

Under a system of carbon budgets, every tonne of greenhouse gases emitted between now and 2050 will count. Where emissions rise in one sector, the UK will have to achieve corresponding falls in another.

ESOS – Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme

Under EU legislation it became mandatory for almost 14000 UK companies to complete an initial audit of their energy usage. The companies affected are from the private and third sector only and must employ at least 250 staff or have an annual turnover of more than £42.5m; public sector organisations are not affected.

The audits, which, for the most part are carried out by third parties, will result in energy saving recommendations, implementation of which is optional.

The audit involves looking carefully at how an organisation uses energy. It should consider how energy is used in:

  • Buildings
  • Transport
  • Industrial operations

The scheme was in two phases, both of which should now be complete. All affected organisations should have complied with the requirements for Phase 1 by the 5th December 2015 and with Phase 2 by 5th December 2019.

IWFM (BIFM) Qualifications

This article relates to the following IWFM (BIFM) Qualification Units:

  • IWFM (BIFM) Level 3 in Facilities Management
    • FM3.02 CSR and Sustainability in Facilities Management
  • IWFM (BIFM) Level 4 in Facilities Management
    • FM4.01 Overview of Facilities Management
    • FM4.19 Sustainability and Environmental Issues and their impact on FM
  • IWFM (BIFM) Level 5 in Facilities Management
    • FM5.01 Facilities Management Developments and Trends
  • IWFM (BIFM) Level 6 in Facilities Management
    • FM6.11 Corporate Responsibility and Sustainable Facilities Management
Find out more about IWFM (BIFM) Qualifications