Environmental pollution and permits

How to report pollution incidents

The type of pollution you wish to report will determine who you should report it to.

The Environment Agency 

You should report the following pollution incidents to the Environment Agency:

  • Damage or danger to the natural environment
  • Pollution to water or land
  • Poaching or illegal fishing
  • Dead fish or fish gasping for air
  • Blocked watercourses and unusual changes in river flow
  • Flooding from main rivers and the sea
  • Illegal dumping of hazardous waste or large amounts of industrial waste
  • Incidents at industrial sites that have a permit from the Environment Agency
  • Damaged canal or river banks

You can report these incidents on their website or their 24-hour phone service: 0800 807060

What we can deal with

We can deal with Noise pollutionSmoke pollution, Pests, Fly tippingLocal air quality and Pollution from sites that have a permit from us (see Environment permits below).

To report an incident or nuisance, visit the appropriate page above or contact our customer services team.

Environmental Permits

There are a set of Regulations that limit what can be released into the environment and these are enforced by both borough councils and the Environment Agency. 

Permits are issued to a number of businesses which limit what can be released and require them to undertake periodic monitoring.

There are three main types of permit.

  • A1 – for the larger processes that emit to land, water and air
  • A2 – for generally smaller processes that emit to land, air and water 
  • Part B – smaller processes that only emit to air, such as dry cleaners, petrol stations and cement batching premises 

These permits come with a set of conditions which must be complied with. 

If the permit is approved Environmental Health and the Environment Agency will undertake regular inspections of the site.

How to apply

You can find out which type of permit you need by viewing the Environmental Permitting Regulations which lists what activities need a permit and the type of permit that is needed.

For A1 activities permits are issued by the Environment Agency.

For A2 and Part B activities, permits are issued by us. 

Before making an application you can contact the relevant agency for advice.

Application forms and additional guidance can be found on the Defra website.


You can check the current annual fees for permits and other charges on the Defra website. 

Last updated 24 February 2023
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