The future for environmental regulation and opportunities for the UK to lead internationally

The government’s strategy to a low carbon economy and net zero has seen the introduction of some very challenging carbon reduction targets. These are set out in the ‘Greening Government Commitment’ document. It details ‘the actions that UK government departments and their partner organisations are taking to significantly reduce the impact they have on the environment: reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases, reducing travel, waste, and water usage and making procurement more sustainable.’

To ensure that we meet the challenge of these commitments, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), as a public body, will embed sustainable development and environmental management into every facet of its operations.

Policy statement

The UKHSA recognises the important link between the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and the associated health and environmental impacts on our society, now and in the future from climate change. To help mitigate this risk, we will develop all our sustainable assets – environmentally, economically and socially. Achieving our objectives in a sustainable and low carbon way is critical to the collective improvement that is needed in meeting the requirements set out in this policy and our strategy document, the Sustainable Development Management Plan (SDMP).

By implementing and embedding our sustainable development strategy we will endeavour to continually improve our environmental performance, whilst progressively reducing our overall environmental impact.

We will:

  • ensure compliance with all relevant UK government environmental policies, legislation and guidance
  • ensure that sustainability is considered in all UKHSA policy decisions
  • identify, assess and manage environmental risks to our staff, and others, affected by our activities
  • advocate the health co-benefits of a sustainable healthcare system by providing scientific expertise, leadership and guidance to our stakeholders
  • focus on the way we do business, including our role in coordinating science, policy, actions, and advocacy in this area
  • undertake environmental compliance audits to ensure the organisation is meeting its legal and environmental management obligations
  • reduce our carbon impact in line with the government’s and our own Net Zero Carbon agenda, developing and implementing strategies for water, waste, energy, transport and procurement, where appropriate
  • put control measures in place to prevent pollution from our owned estate
  • assess and include sustainable options for all new and refurbished developments as an integral part of our estate’s strategy
  • expect our suppliers and contractors to demonstrate a high standard of environmental performance and social value
  • ensure continual improvement of our environmental performance, through the implementation of a dedicated Environmental Management System, and our SDMP
  • allocate reasonable resources to support this policy

Roles and responsibilities

Executive Committee

The UKHSA’s Executive Committee, led by the Chief Executive, will provide demonstrable leadership in the implementation, effective operation and continuous improvement of the UKHSA’s environmental management and its associated arrangements.

Line management

Management teams are the driving force behind the implementation of the UKHSA’s environmental policy. Managers have a responsibility to understand the important role they play in endorsing UKHSA’s policies and future-plans. They must support staff involved in the sustainability delivery programme whilst recognising the environmental interfaces within their areas of responsibility.

Sustainable Development Programme Board

Members of the Sustainable Development Programme Board (SDPB) have been given delegated authority by the Executive Committee to provide operational leadership for the implementation, effective operation and continuous improvement of the UKHSA’s sustainable development strategy and any associated arrangements. The SDPB will provide visible, active commitment; setting deliverable objectives for effective sustainable development.

Sustainability Leads

Sustainability Leads will be nominated to those areas of the organisation which have an identified or specific environmental impact. They will be responsible for co-ordinating the efforts of their local Environmental Working Groups, where applicable.

External consultants and auditors

External consultants and auditors will be utilised when specialist expertise (not available in-house) is required. Relevant financial procurement controls shall be used in these circumstances.


All members of staff are expected to comply with the UKHSA’s Environmental Policy and the associated management arrangements, and to comply with identified practices and procedures. It is important that all members of staff develop an awareness of the environmental impact of their activities.

Environmental Working Groups

Environmental Working Groups shall be established across the organisation to support effective local management of environmental and sustainability issues. Environmental Working Groups are representative of the local workforce and will work to clear Terms of Reference. These terms aim to enable the group to fulfil their role as the environmental representatives for their particular area of operations.


All staff will receive mandatory training with relation to this policy. This specific training will be undertaken by all members of staff on a 3-yearly basis. Access to this training will be via the intranet.

This overarching policy document is supported by the environmental policies and their management arrangements below, these being:

  • Environmental Policy and Management Arrangements
  • Environmental Management Strategy
  • Energy and Carbon Management policy
  • Sustainable Travel Policy
  • Sustainable Travel and Management Arrangements
  • Waste Management Policy
  • Waste Management Arrangements and Guidance

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