SC41 - Controlling Pollution
08 Dec 2011



​Controlling Pollution to Air, Land or Water


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Initi​al releaseJanuary 2012
1.1Updates to training and audit checklistMay 2013
1.2Minor changes to 4.2.1 and 4.2.7March 2014
Add Document Retention Policy Appendix
August 2014
Minor changes to r3eflect the launch of SHE Assure​
​October 2018

1. Purpose

The STFC Environment Policy commits the STFC to “ensuring high standards of environment management throughout our organisation … in accordance with local environmental standards and legislation”. This code establishes procedures to ensure that discharges to air, land or water comply with Environmental Permitting and other regulations:

  • Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010
  • Environmental Protection (Controls on Ozone Depleting Substances) Regulations 2011
  • Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases Regulations 2009
  • Water Industries Act 1991
  • Control of Pollution (Oil Storage)(England) Regulations 2001

And the Scottish counterparts of the above legislation.

STFC sites require authorisation in the form of authorisations, permits or consents to carry out certain operations which may have detrimental effects on the environment. These include:

  • Discharging certain hazardous substances to air above a threshold, for instance surface cleaning chemicals like trichloroethylene;
  • Storing, treating or disposing of other peoples wastes (including that of its tenants);
  • Discharging anything other than clean water to surface or groundwater, for instance neighbouring natural waterways, ponds or canals;
  • Discharging trade waste to public sewers;
  • Abstracting significant amounts of water from surface or groundwater;
  • Transporting other peoples waste or arranging for someone else to do this (again including tenants); and
  • Producing hazardous wastes.

STFC activities that could cause undue nuisance may also require a permit, for instance:

  • Noise;
  • Odours; or
  • Visual ‘pollution’, including light pollution

2. Scope

This code applies to all UK STFC owned and managed sites; this includes the Cockcroft Institute but not Swindon Office.

This code applies to all STFC staff, visitors, tenants, contractors and facility users.

This code applies to the release of gases, vapours and dusts to air; liquids to drains or land; the on-site processing or storage of wastes; and the creation of statutory nuisance.

The code excludes radioactive wastes (see SHE Code 21 Management of Radioactive Waste).

The management of asbestos is covered by the STFC SHE Code 32, Asbestos Management.

3. Definitions

3.1. Authorisation

In this code the term Authorisation will be taken to mean either Consent to Discharge or Environmental Permit:

3.1.1. Consent to Discharge

A Consent to Discharge is issued by a Utility company under the Water Industries Act. The document is required when non-domestic liquid waste is discharged to a public sewer (see Appendix 1).

3.1.2. Environmental Permit​

An Environmental Permit (or Exemption) is issued by the Environment Agency under the Environmental Permitting Regulations for discharges to land, air or controlled waters which may be hazardous to health or the environment (see Appendix 1), and for certain waste handling operations.

3.2. Statutory Nuisance

Statutory nuisance is defined in section 79(10) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990:

  • Smoke emitted from premises so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance;
  • Any dust, steam, smell or any other effluvia arising on industrial, trade or business premises and being prejudicial to health or a nuisance;
  • Any accumulation or deposit which is prejudicial to health or a nuisance;
  • Artificial light emitted from a premises so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance; or
  • Noise emitted from a premises so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance.
3.3.  Trade Waste

Trade waste is any non-domestic liquid waste, other than surface water, resulting from industrial activity. This may be waste water contaminated with, for example:

  • Chemicals;
  • Suspended particulates;
  • Oils and greases; or
  • Detergents.
3.4. Domestic (Foul) Waste

Domestic or foul waste is any waste from domestic sinks, showers or toilets.

3.5. Surface Water

Surface water is any surface rainwater run-off, for example, from a roof, road, path or hard-standing.

3.6. Sensitive Environmental Receptor

A Sensitive Environmental Receptor is an object or area that is at risk from harm as a result of emissions from a site. Examples would be a local canal, pond or aquifer.

3.7. Hazardous Waste

Hazardous Wastes are wastes that are considered a hazard to human health or the environment, for example, if it is toxic to aquatic life (see STFC SHE Code 31, Controlled and Hazardous Waste).

3.8. F-Gas

This is a generic term for Fluorinated Greenhouse Gasses covered by the Kyoto Protocol. They include hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs - generic formula CnHmFx), perfluorocarbons (PFCs – generic formula CnFx) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6). Within STFC they will typically be found in air conditioning systems, cooling systems, fire protection systems and solvent cleaning plants.

4. Responsibilities

4.1 Heads of Estates shall:
  • 4.1.1 Ensure that regular testing is carried out to ensure that each STFC site remains within any site authorisations. If indicated by the Environmental Impact Assessment (see Appendix 3) this may include proactive testing for land contamination.

    A list of current authorisations and their conditions can be viewed on the SHE website.

  • 4.1.2 Ensure that site drainage is maintained, site drainage plans are kept up to date and that manhole covers are marked with the correct colour relating to its contents (see Appendix 5):
    • Foul: red;
    • Trade: yellow;
    • Radioactive: yellow and black; and
    • Surface water: blue
  • 4.1.3 Ensure that a site F-gas register is maintained (see Appendix 4) accounting for site F-gas inventories, and records of equipment installation and maintenance.
  • 4.1.4 Maintain the estate so as to minimise ‘statutory nuisance’ (see 3.2).
4.2 Line Managers and Contract Supervising Officers shall:
  • 4.2.1 For existing activities, and prior to commencing any new project or work activity, which may be expected to produce discharges, ensure that all possible discharges to air (including from fume cupboards), water (including foul drains) and land are assessed, and ‘statutory nuisance’ considered as part of the normal activity/project SHE risk assessments (see STFC Code 6, Risk Management and STFC Code 37, COSHH). Assessments should identify controls to reduce, as far as is reasonably practicable, any discharges, and minimise the environmental impact establishing operating procedures to control emissions, and contingency plans and equipment (for example 'Spill kits') to deal with any environmental incidents.
  • 4.2.2 For existing activities, and prior to commencing any new project or work activity, such as emptying of effluent/neutralising pits, ensure that they are within relevant Authorisations following consultation with the STFC Environment Officer, by establishing procedures to ensure compliance and using regular monitoring and testing of discharges. See Appendix 1
  • A list of current authorisations and their discharge conditions can be viewed on the SHE website
  • 4.2.3 Ensure staff, visitors, facility users, tenants and contractors are aware of the requirements of any relevant authorisations to control discharges to air, water or land and ‘statutory nuisance’ arising from the work they undertake.

  • Where identified in the risk assessment, suitably equipped spill kits should be available and workers should be competent to deal with spills that arise.
  • 4.2.4 Ensure that all environmentally sensitive liquids (for instance those with hazard phrases H400-413) stored outside of buildings are bunded (held within secondary containment sufficient to hold 110% of the contents of the primary container, and where there is more than one storage container, the secondary containment must be capable of holding 110% of the largest container OR 25% of the total capacity of all containers, which ever is the greater) unless a documented SHE risk assessment permits the absence of a bund.
  • All containers of more than 200 litres of oil (including fuel oil) must be held in secondary containment that will hold at least 110% of its capacity.

  • The primary and secondary containment should be regularly inspected and maintained to ensure its integrity and records of such work retained.
  • 4.2.5 Maintain equipment so as to ensure that it does not leak causing pollution to air, land or water, maintaining records of such work.
  • 4.2.6 Report to STFC Estates all instances where F-Gases are employed, the initial inventory and any changes to that inventory and records of certified personnel employed to install and maintain such equipment, see Appendix 4.
  • 4.2.7 Ensure that all leaks, spills and other unplanned discharges are reported promptly in SHE Assure (see STFC SHE Code 5, Incident Reporting and Investigation). Where 'Spill kits' have been established, ensure that these are kept suitably stocked for the spills expected and, as appropriate, staff are trained in their use, see Appendix 6.
4.3 Staff and Others discharging to Air, Land or Water shall:
  • 4.3.1 As far as is reasonably practicable, endeavour to minimise the discharge of all liquid or gaseous wastes, in particular hazardous wastes, by prior consideration of the possible emissions that may arise from projects or work activities following the controls detailed in activity risk assessments.
  • 4.3.2 Report all leaks, spills and other unplanned discharges promptly in SHE Assure​ (see STFC SHE Code 5, Incident Reporting and Investigation).
4.4 STFC Environment Officer shall:
  • 4.4.1 Ensure that each STFC site has authorisations for any of its operations that require them and that this information is made available to staff via the SHE website.
  • This will include details of any existing:
    • Consents to discharge to foul drains (public sewers);
    • Licenses to produce hazardous wastes;
    • Waste brokers licenses where STFC is managing waste for site tenants; and
    • Exemptions for certain waste operations. For example: chipping and composting of grounds maintenance waste and/or digestion of food waste to produce compost; or baling of cardboard (see Appendix 2).
  • 4.4.2 Ensure that any site emergency procedures, emergency exercises and associated training take account of locally sensitive environmental receptors (e.g. Bridgewater canal at DL and the Chilton Pond at RAL).
  • 4.4.3 Ensure that sufficient spill kits, suitable for reasonably foreseeable site environmental incidents, are suitably located and regularly maintained for emergency use.
  • 4.4.4 Maintain and review annually an environmental legal compliance register for all STFC sites, see Appendix 3.
  • 4.4.5 Ensure that Environmental Aspects and Impacts assessments are conducted and maintained for all STFC sites, see Appendix 3.
  • 4.4.6 Report any breaches of authorisations to the appropriate regulatory body in a timely manner.

5. References

  • 5.1 General Permitting Guide (DEFRA) 

Contact: Baker, Gareth (STFC,DL,COO)