This topic describes the enforcement policies, tools and options that environmental regulators may use to ensure that regulated parties meet the requirements of environmental laws. Environmental regulators enforce the requirements of laws and permits when an operator with a permit, licence or consent has either breached a legally-binding condition, or when there is a risk of a breach of such a condition, and hence the risk of environmental harm. Regulators can enforce the law when it also applies to individuals.

Environmental regulators now typically apply risk-based approaches to regulation, with enforcement actions in proportion to the environmental risks and scale of breaches; therefore, this topic also describes the Environment Agency’s Compliance Classification Scheme (CCS), which classifies permit breaches according to the environmental risks that they pose.

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