The Environment Agency (EA)
The Environment Agency (E
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The Environment Agency (EA)

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The Environment Agency (EA)

The Environment Agency (EA)

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Description

The Environment Agency (EA) is a non-departmental public body, established in 1996 and sponsored by the United Kingdom government's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with responsibilities relating to the protection and enhancement of the environment in England (and until 2013 also Wales).

Based in Bristol, the Environment Agency is responsible for flood management, regulating land and water pollution, and conservation.

History

The Environment Agency was created by the Environment Act 1995, and came into existence on 1 April 1996. It had responsibility for the whole of England and Wales but with specifically designated border arrangements with Scotland covering the catchment of the River Tweed. It took over the roles and responsibilities of the National Rivers Authority (NRA), Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Pollution (HMIP) and the waste regulation authorities in England and Wales including the London Waste Regulation Authority (LWRA). All of the predecessor bodies were disbanded and the local authorities relinquished their waste regulatory role. At the same time, the agency took responsibility for issuing flood warnings to the public, a role previously held by the police.

In 2010 a new national headquarters for the agency was opened at Horizon House in Deanery Road, Bristol. The building, which was designed by Alec French Architects, won the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment (BREEAM) Award for its environmentally friendly construction and operation which includes the use of sustainable materials, natural ventilation and cooling, photoelectric panels and rainwater harvesting.

On 24 April 2013, Horizon House suffered a fire leading to its closure for several weeks. An investigation into the fire found it was that result of workmen accidentally igniting the environmentally friendly cavity wall insulation on the ground floor and due to the design of the upward airflow the fire spread quickly in the inside of the wall leading to substantial smoke damage throughout. The building was quickly evacuated and the fire under control in under an hour. The resulting internal document proposed additional standards for the handling of materials that offer environmental advantages but may be considered more susceptible to ignition.

On 1 April 2013, that part of the Environment Agency covering Wales was merged into Natural Resources Wales, a separate body managing the Welsh environment and natural resources.

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