Environmental responsibilities

Prevent and remedy pollution incidents

Every year there are thousands of cases of damage to the environment. The Environmental Damage Regulations relate to the most serious cases, covering:

  • damage to species and habitats
  • damage to water
  • risks to human health from contamination of land

The regulations apply to both actual cases of damage and threats of imminent damage. If you are responsible - ie you are the 'operator' of the activity that causes or threatens the damage - you must take immediate action to prevent or remedy this.

See our guide on pollution incidents and environmental damage - an overview.

Reporting an incident

You should call the Environment Agency Incident Hotline on Tel 0800 80 70 60 to report incidents such as:

  • damage or danger to the natural environment
  • pollution to water or land
  • poaching or illegal fishing
  • fish in distress or dead fish
  • watercourse blocked by a vehicle or fallen tree causing risk of flooding
  • illegal dumping of hazardous waste or large amounts of industrial waste
  • incidents at Environment Agency-regulated waste sites
  • illegal abstraction from watercourses
  • unusual drops in river flow
  • collapsed or badly damaged river or canal banks

You should report incidents such as gas leaks, burst water mains, or domestic odours, noise, waste or pest nuisances to your local authority or utility company.

Subjects covered in this guide


Environment Agency Incident Hotline

0800 80 70 60

Environment Agency Helpline

03708 506 506


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Developed with:
Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs
Environment Agency