The Environment Agency is responsible for protecting and improving the environment of England and Wales as well as protecting communities from the risk of flooding and managing water resources.
It is an Executive Non-departmental Public Body responsible to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and a Welsh Government Sponsored Body responsible to the Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development. The Agency’s principal aims are to protect and improve the environment, and to promote sustainable development and plays a central role in delivering the environmental priorities of central government and the Welsh Government through our functions and roles.
Flood and coastal risk management
The EA is the principal flood risk management operating authority, managing flood risk from designated main rivers and the sea. It is also responsible for increasing public awareness of flood risk, flood forecasting and warning and has a general supervisory duty for flood risk management.
The Agency has a duty to maintain and improve the quality of surface waters and groundwaters and, as part of the duty, it monitors the quality of rivers, lakes, the sea and groundwater on a regular basis. Much of this information is required by law under the provisions of a number of European Directives to be reported both to Parliament and to Europe and to be made public. Monitoring is also carried out of many discharges to the aquatic environment including sewage effluents and trade and agricultural discharges.
The Agency manages the use and conservation of water through the issue of water abstraction licences for activities such as drinking water supply, artificial irrigation and hydro-electricity generation.