Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Memoranda

Memorandum by Dr D Van Steenis (HSE 01)

  Due to conflicts of interest within the Environment Agency, I have been proposing for several years that the EA be down graded to a licensing agency granting and holding details of licences, and ordering suitable comprehensive monitoring including PM2.5 particulates of relevant pollution sources. I have also been proposing for several years, that HSE in future, carry out all prosecutions under IPPC on behalf of the Environment Agency as well as direct, due to evidence of health damage to workers and/or the public under sections 2 and/or 3 of the Health and Safety Act. HSE should be given some funding then from the Environment Agency as well as from central government and should be given a much more independent role free of interference. At present serious matters, which might have political overtones are referred to their head office and prosecutions are prevented by government. Ten per cent of court fines levied in their prosecutions should be obtained and diverted to use as performance related bonuses. That would reward extra hard work and act as a counter balance to various attempts by guilty parties to influence officers. HSE should have powers and finance to order independent monitoring of relevant pollutants from any point source(s) and also order appropriate health damage epidemiology within postcodes effected with comparative control figures from an unaffected area. Health authorities should be ordered to comply with any request. The work of the HSE is crucial in protecting workers and the public and they are the only relevant body who have had training in toxicology unlike councils, health authorities, Environment Agency, etc.

September 1999

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