This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on pollution. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.

Commons Briefing Papers

27.11.2015Water Framework Directive: achieving good status of water bodies
This Commons Library Briefing Paper examines the requirements of the Water Framework Directive, including the requirement that the UK achieves 'good' status of all water bodies by 2015. It sets out some facts and figures for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, explains how water quality is measured and discusses what happens if the requirements are not met. The actions being taken by the Government to manage and improve water quality are also explained and a brief explanation of the offence of water pollution is included.
15.09.2015The problem of fly-tipping - the illegal dumping of waste
This Commons Library briefing paper gives a general overview of the extent of the problem of fly-tipping and the powers and responsibilities of the Environment Agency, local authorities and landowners to deal with it. In 2013/14 there was a significant increase in reported cases of fly-tipping across England.
17.07.2015Marine Conservation Zones in England
Marine Conservation Zones are being introduced to protect nationally important marine environments. 127 sites were put forward by regional stakeholder groups, and the Government designated 27 sites in 2013. The Government consulted on a second tranche of MCZs early in 2015. It is expected that the Government will announce a third tranche of candidate MCZ sites in 2016.
09.06.2015EU exit: impact in key UK policy areas
If the UK left the EU, would UK citizens benefit? This would depend on how the Government filled any policy gaps left by withdrawal. In some areas, the environment, for example, where the UK is bound by other international agreements, much of the content of EU law would probably remain. In others, the government might decide to retain the substance of EU law, or to remove EU obligations from UK statutes. Much would also depend on whether the UK sought to remain in the European Economic Area and therefore continue to have access to the single market, or preferred to go it alone and negotiate bilateral agreements with the EU. This paper looks at the current situation in a range of policy areas and considers how it might change be if the UK left the EU.
10.03.2015Sources of Statistics: Energy
This introductory guide provides sources of statistics on energy in the UK.
10.03.2015Sources of Statistics: Environment
This introductory guide provides sources of statistics on the environment.
05.06.2014Aviation: noise pollution
This note looks at policies and schemes to tackle aviation noise.
21.05.2012Roads: charging in London
This note provides information on the two road charging schemes that exist in central London: the Low Emissions Zone (LEZ) and the Congestion Charge.
27.02.2012The Water Industry (Financial Assistance) Bill 2010-12
The Water Industry (Financial Assistance) Bill contains two measures. One will give the Government the discretion to reduce water bills in certain regions. The other will give the Government the discretion to provide financial assistance for major water and sewage infrastructure projects. Initially the Government plans to use these powers to reduce water bills in the South West of England and to support the Thames Tunnel project.
19.11.2010Roads: traffic noise
This Note outlines the various initiatives of successive government and the European Union to properly monitor and reduce road traffic noise and its associated impacts.


05.01.2016Trends in the Environment
Human activities interact with natural systems in complex ways; they can cause long-term damage to systems humans are dependent on. This POSTnote summarises a range of such pressures on the environment. It also identifies a number of trends and their effects on the UK.
25.09.2015Deep Sea Mining
In March 2013, the Prime Minister said that deep-sea mining could be worth 40bn to the UK over the next 30 years. This briefing summarises the framework governing activity in international waters. It also describes the mineral deposit types being considered and the proposed extraction methods, potential environmental effects and mitigation options.
21.09.2015Precision Farming
Precision farming uses technology to improve efficiency. It offers benefits for yields, profits and the environment. However, uptake by farmers has been slow. This POSTnote describes precision farming methods, adoption and factors influencing it, and future practices.
24.08.2015Securing UK Soil Health
2015 is the United Nations International Year of Soils. Soils underpin the global food system and regulate water, carbon and nitrogen cycles but are subject to pressures from population growth and climate change. In England & Wales, soil degradation costs around 1bn per year. This POSTnote outlines the evidence for measures that sustain soils and existing policies affecting soil health.
07.08.2015Herbicide Resistance
Increasing resistance to herbicides, coupled with a lack of new types of herbicides, has the potential to reduce crop yields. The UK Government's commitment to increase yields over the next 25 years will require the development of alternative crop protection methods. This POSTnote outlines the challenges of herbicide resistance and reviews the possible approaches to long-term weed control strategies.
08.10.2014Short Lived Climate Pollutants
Short lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs) include black carbon, methane, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and ground level ozone. Although they have a shorter residence time in the atmosphere than CO2, from a few days to a few decades, they contribute to near term climate change. This POSTnote summarises options for mitigating SLCP concentrations and the benefits and challenges of doing so.

Select Committee Reports

15.03.2011UK deepwater drilling - implications of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Government response. Energy and Climate Change Select Committee report [Commons]
15.02.2011Emissions performance standards.
Government response. Energy and Climate Change Select Committee; Department of Energy and Climate Change report [Commons]
14.12.2010UK deepwater drilling - implications of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Energy and Climate Change Select Committee report [Commons]
24.11.2010Emissions performance standards.
Energy and Climate Change Select Committee report [Commons]
22.11.2010Air Quality.
Government response. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs report [Commons]

Early Day Motions

That this House notes with concern that, four years after the GE Lighting factory on Melton Road in Leicester closed, the problem of contaminated land has not been resolved; further ...
That this House welcomes the recent dramatic fall in air pollution in Port Talbot; congratulates Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council, local companies, notably Corus and the Environment ...
23.06.2010MARINE POLLUTION (S.I., 2010, No. 1228) (No. 2)
That this House welcomes the Merchant Shipping (Ship-to-Ship Transfers) Regulations 2010 which were laid before it on 9 April 2010, in the previous Parliament; considers the new requirement ...
09.06.2010MARINE POLLUTION (S.I., 2010, No. 1228)
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Merchant Shipping (Ship-to-Ship Transfers) Regulations 2010 (S.I., 2010, No. 1228), dated 8 April 2010, a copy of ...
That this House notes that 2.5 billion people across the world live without access to sanitation and around 4,000 children die from diarrhoea every single day, more than AIDS, malaria ...


  • Commons Briefing Papers (CBP) Papers providing in-depth and impartial analysis on every major piece of primary legislation and on other topics of public and parliamentary concern. Regular statistics papers are also published.
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POSTnotes (POST PN) - proactive four-page policy briefings from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology based on reviews of the research literature, interviews with stakeholders and peer review, commissioned by the POST Board
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - authored publications by the research section of the House of Lords Library that provide analysis of Bills, subjects for debate in the House and other issues of interest to Members.
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses