Environment Agency publishes plans for assessment of industry self-monitoring scheme

The Environment Agency has published plans to strengthen its regulation of major industries in England and Wales through a new assessment programme for schemes involving companies’ self-monitoring and auditing of emissions to air.

The new Operator Monitoring Assessment (OMA) is designed to increase reliance on self-monitoring by operators through greater confidence in the quality of monitoring. The Agency currently commissions a significant amount of independent monitoring for checks on companies’ self-evaluation results, and the new OMA will be used to prioritise these checks, and to identify necessary monitoring improvements.

“The Agency is working with industry to improve monitoring data, which should lead to a reduction of emissions to the environment,” said Dr Paul Leinster, Environment Agency Director of Environment Protection. “The Agency will use the OMA scheme to assess how well the Operator undertakes its monitoring. The assessments will be used to indicate where monitoring improvements can be made and to help prioritise the Agency’s independent monitoring.” Operators with good self-monitoring regimes will be identified by the OMA, as will those who need to improve to meet Agency standards, he said.

Companies’ attributes being assessed by the scheme include the management and training of staff, maintenance and calibration of monitoring equipment, and acceptability of sampling points.

The OMA is also expected to: make the Agency’s requirements for self-monitoring to be more transparent and consistent; allow companies and the Agency to be better informed regarding emissions; aid identification of emission trends; reduce emissions to the environment; and cut costs to customers operating adequate self-monitoring regimes.

Comments on the scheme should be sent by 7 May 2001 to: Environment Agency, National Compliance Assessment Service, Cameron House, White Cross Industrial Estate, South Road, Lancaster, LA1 4XQ; or by email to oma@enviornment-agency.gov.uk.

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