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What are the environmental risks that businesses face?

There are a number of environmental risks that businesses need to assess to avoid being penalised. Probably one of the most common is the control and disposal of waste. Businesses must control waste on site, including segregating it into categories; hazardous and non-hazardous, and passing it on to registered carriers to ensure it goes to the permitted waste disposal facilities.

Each month, businesses are breaching the rules in terms of their duty of care regarding waste, and are facing prosecution. The increased cost of landfill tax particularly has led to more corners being cut and businesses resorting to fly-tipping, for example. 
 
The second most common risk is in relation to trade effluent or liquid waste. Some businesses will have consent from the Environment Agency or local water undertaker to discharge a certain amount into controlled water, such as a river or to a sewer. 
If consent has been granted, businesses must adhere to the stipulations to avoid causing damage to the sewers or environment.
 
Emissions are another risk to consider. Most businesses are permitted to produce a certain level of gas and vapour but those that emit over the stipulated amount must have some sort of abatement or control system in place. Businesses can put measures in place to reduce CO2 emissions from cars through car-sharing schemes, increased use of public transport or video-conferencing technology for example.
 
Companies that produce a large amount of packaging also need to be aware of their environmental obligations, which may involve recycling or recovering an amount from the packaging. Those with a turnover of more than £2million and that handle more than 50 tonnes of packaging a year are obliged to set up some sort of recycling scheme. Many businesses are unaware of their responsibility or fail to make admissions about the levels of packaging being produced.
 
Aviva Risk Management Solutions’ team of Environmental Specialists can help you to ensure that your business is meeting its environmental obligations. For more information call 0500 559977

James Draper, principal consultant for Aviva Risk Management Solutions

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