Notification and recording of fire and rescue service environmental protection activities
To ensure the continuing success and development of the partnership, the effectiveness of FRS environmental protection activity should be regularly reviewed and the benefits promoted. It’s also important that the costs of pollution control equipment, whether provided by environment agencies or the FRS, are recovered from the polluter, unless there are overriding circumstances. These aims can only be achieved by systematic and accurate recording and reporting of operational environmental protection activities.
FRSs should ensure that attending personnel complete a reporting and recording form each time they undertake environmental protection activity. An example reporting form which may be modified to meet local needs is in Appendix 6.
Activities that should be recorded on the form include:
- Time spent on environmental protection activity
- The quantities of product contained
- Materials and equipment used
- Environmental protection techniques employed, including improvised activities such as constructing an earth bund around a drain
- An assessment of the environmental damage prevented and that that did occur; environment agencies should be able to assist with this assessment
- Any specific issues arising or learning points
Once completed, a copy of the reporting form should be emailed to the locally nominated environment agency contact. In England this must be within 21 days to allow the Environment Agency to generate an invoice within the timescales set out in its incident recharging procedures.
As well as providing the information environment agencies require for recharging submission of the reporting form will provide a clear audit trail on the use of the equipment they provide, except in Scotland. It will also provide both parties with a record of the effectiveness and value of the FRS response.
FRS should keep a record of the forms to help them record, monitor, report and demonstrate the value of the environmental protection activity they undertake. It will also provide valuable data for planning and resource provision when developing a risk management plan (RMP).
As well as assisting operational staff, the information from the reporting forms may prove useful to FRS strategic management teams, fire authorities, environment agency planners, EA/NFCC liaison groups and central government departments and agencies to inform decisions on issues such as resource allocation, location and emerging issues and trends to aid strategic as well as local planning processes. The form can also identify areas of training need.
Some FRSs now use the Incident Recording System (IRS) to record environmental protection action and equipment used This can assist in generating electronic reporting to the Environment Agency. When completing the IRS, a simplified electronic version of the report form is automatically generated which details the nature of the incident, information relating to the polluter and details of the type and quantity of equipment used. This electronic form can then be emailed to the Environment Agency. Details of the equipment re-ordering process are included here.