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

25.05.2016Microbeads and microplastics in cosmetic and personal care products
This briefing paper is concerned with the use of microplastics and microbeads, which are small plastic pieces, in a variety of cosmetic and personal care products. It discusses their possible impacts on the environment and human health. It outlines the steps being taken to phase-out microplastics in cosmetic and personal care products, and provides information on legislative bans.
10.05.2016Local road charges
This short paper explains what local road charging schemes are, how they can be implanted and what the attitudes of successive governments have been to their introduction.
09.05.2016Fly-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 and incidents increased again in 2014/15.
12.02.2016EU referendum: impact of an EU exit in key UK policy areas
This paper looks at the current situation in a range of policy areas and considers how it might change if the UK left the EU: would UK citizens benefit? This would depend on how the Government filled any policy gaps left by withdrawal.
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.
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.
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.


05.06.2016Marine Microplastic Pollution
Plastic pollution is accumulating rapidly in the world's oceans. The potential effects of microplastics on the environment and human health are an area of active research. This POSTnote summarises their sources and spread, the evidence that they present a risk and possible strategies to reduce plastic pollution.
20.04.2016Access to Water and Sanitation
This briefing discusses the challenge of increasing access to water and sanitation in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
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.

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