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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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1. Introduction

1.1. General Introduction

Within this report I shall discuss the impacts to both the environment as well as the company of changing the organisations vehicle fleet to electric only vehicles. As an environmental manager, it is important to give clear information on the pros and the cons of this proposal as well as the legislation that is specific to the change. Not only this but a related environmental risk assessment and environmental management system covering the company's energy usage shall be discussed with recommendations.

1.2. EV as Company fleet -  Possitives and Negitives

2. Environmental Risk Assessment

2.1. Purpose and Content

Environmental Risk Management (ERM) is a useful tool used to help support policy evaluation, use of land, planning, and is essential to decision making. This systematic procedure can be implemented in a number of different ways, helping projects with very little data to those with an extensive number of resources. An ERA is extremely useful for the communication of environmental managers to determine risks related to proposed decisions and projects. This ensures that environmental risks are made clear to the public as well as stakeholders.  (Env.gov.bc.ca, 2000)

An ERA is held as such a valuable tool as it shows the environmental consequences, putting importance on highlighting the likely outcomes and their desirability rather than concentrating on justifying the merits of an action or strategy. With the environmental risks highlighted, it is essential that the risks to the environment are recognised before and after the decision-making stage. Awareness of risk encourages the distribution of accountability and a collective sharing of responsibility for managing that risk, and will hopefully lead to decisions that reduce risk.

ERA is also flexible, capable of being applied to complex in-depth analyses or in situations requiring rapid response answers (Env.gov.bc.ca, 2000)

Source - The cause or source of the contamination is identified. For example, this could be the emissions from vehicles. The location of the contamination is identified, such as in this case the air.

Pathway- This defines the method in which the source reaches the receptor. Examples of a pathway would be water soil and air.

Receptor- In order for there to be a risk there must be a receptor, this include a people, plants, ecosystems, buildings and water. These receptors are found and measured against the contamination. If all three are identified then a risk occurs (Booth, 2011)

2.2. Structure

Hazard Identification/Release Assessment: using tools such as hazard indices, Hazop, event tree analysis, failure mode and effect analysis and many others to determine the nature of potential hazards and the likelihood of a release

Exposure Assessment attempts to determine the magnitude of the physical effects of an undesirable event (identified in the hazard identification and release assessment stages), and the pathways and transport modes of the hazard to the receptor, using predictive exposure modelling tools for aerosols, thermal radiation, vapour cloud explosions

Consequence Assessment attempts to quantify the possible damage to the receptor, caused by the exposure to the hazard, using vulnerability models

Risk Estimation consists of integrating the estimation of the probability of release events with the results of the consequence assessment to produce an estimate of the overall risk of an activity.

(European Environment Agency, 2016)

2.3. Environmental Risk Assessment Legislation

Legal requirements include:

Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulation 2012.

EC Directive No 85/337 “The Assessment of the effective of Certain Public and Private Projects on the Environment.”

Provisions contained in the EPA 1990, Pt IIA are based on a risk-assessment approach.

 COMAH Regulations relating to environmental risk assessment.

3. Environmental management system

3.1. Purpose and Content

The use of an Environmental Management Systems (EMS) is of great importance when aiming to achieving sustainability. When applied, an EMS will allow for companies to target, achieve and demonstrate consistent improvements toward environmental issues through an integrated management process. An EMS will set objectives and goals through delegation of responsibilities and roles to reduce negative impacts whilst promoting positive ones. the comprehensiveness of an EMS is highlighted through the consideration of various activities and ensuring that all information is precisely defined. An EMS is documented with policies to ensure that actions can be directly audited. With an EMS, it is important when implemented, that there is a strong commitment to the objectives set. This can be achieved through possible training to help encourage staff participation and promote a companywide understanding of the goal of sustainability.

3.2. Business Practicalities

There are many business practicalities to be considered in implementing a EMS. Some of these include the improvements to competitiveness as well as being an attractive management system to current and potential customers and clients. Another practicality would be the ability to identify the areas in which money can be saved, in this example it would be mainly on fuel costs. With this, insurance costs could be reduced as risks are in turn reduced. This EMS will also ensure that a company will always comply with relevant regulations and in some cases going above and beyond these with a continued upgrade to the fleet to ensure latest emission standards are met. Also, new technologies could be considered to further reduces emissions as well as boost competitiveness. Also, the implementation of the EMS can be done with various sources for guidance.

3.3. EMS in Relation to Proposed Action

EMS as a tool is effective in promoting sustainability as it brings many environmental and managerial benefits to organisations. An EMS looks to generally reduce raw material usage and waste outputs, advance corporate environmental performance whilst complying with relevant legislation.  With the company's action toward changing the fleet to electric vehicles, the EMS will reduce the negative impact on human health, reduce nuisance and improve air quality. Despite the need to invest resources in developing and applying an EMS, including staff, time and money, the range of potential benefits should outweigh these. Benefits such as marketing advantages, credibility to owners and shareholders and enhanced public relations. An EMS is encouraged for the business to benefit, by going beyond the minimum of environmental policy.

3.4. EMS Legislation

With regards to legislation in relation to EMS it is important to first understand how companies gain EMS certification. a company can gain certification through two methods, these being though “self-declaration” and most commonly “third party” certification. Third party will have the EMS audited by an auditor. This is seen to carry more weight as the company must apply to a registrar with the EMS assessed to ISO 14001 regulations. If the application is granted the certification will last a three-year period. the terms relating to certification including;

- Accreditation - which is carried out by an authoritative body

- Registration - which lists item/ service on publicly accessible list (Thomas, 2005)

The main standards most influential to EMS are The British Standard Institute's BS7750 -'Specification for Environmental Management Systems' BS11994 and the International Standards Organisation's draft 'ISO 14001 - Environmental Management Systems' (ISO 1995) (Holbrook, n.d.)

4. Recommendations

4.1. Environmental Impact Assessment

It is recommended when considering the change of fleet to electric only vehicles, an important tool to consider is an Environmental impact assessment (EIA) giving the decision makes a full review of all environmental impacts. An EIA will evaluate the possible environmental impacts within this proposed action, considering inter-related socio-economic, cultural and human-health impacts. With these factors considered the EIA will highlight potential adverse environmental impacts to the relevant decision makers.  (Convention on Biological Diversity, n.d.)

The EIA can be implemented through the following stages:

Scope – Define the potential issues in the proposed action with environmental impacts at forefront.

Baseline study – Measures current environmental status within the organisations vehicle usage.

Impact Prediction -  Give forecast to environmental impacts caused through proposed action

Impact Assessment – Assesses the impact within the “Impact Prediction” and provides conclusion used by decision makers to determine success.

Auditing – monitors impacts and provides mitigation to predicted and unpredicted impacts. (Sheate, W., n.d.)

4.2. Legislation and Policy Relating to EV

When considering changing company fleet to EV it is recommended to consult the following to ensure best practice:

Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009

“Introduces a target to reduce Scotland's greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050, with at least 42% reduced by 2020. Sets out annual targets, including emissions from international aviation and shipping.”

“VCA: New car fuel consumption and exhaust emissions”

“VCA: New van fuel consumption and exhaust emissions”

“SMMT: New and Used - CO2 emissions data for all cars “

“VCA: Cars and fuel options”

“Energy Saving Trust Scotland: Electric vehicles”

“Choose low emission vehicles”

“HMRC: Company cars”

(Netregs.org.uk, n.d.)

5. Conclusion

In conclusion, the action of introducing electric vehicles to replace the current company fleet has many positives and negatives such as……………. However, as an environmental manager I feel the positive outweigh the negatives and therefore it is recommended that this action is taken. It is also important that an environmental risk assessment as well as an environmental management system is considered within the company. The combination of these should highlight the potential environmental risks as well as the business practicalities when applying both tools within the organisation. If the decision is made to act in implementing EV's within the company, the recommendations of an EIA as well as the listed policy as mentioned in the report should be considered to ensure best practise.

References

Thomas, I. 2005 Environmental Management Processes and Practices for Australia. [e-book] n.p. (Accessed 2017)Available at: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=Im5zeGAwZ_UC&pg=PA205&lpg=PA205&dq=practicalities+of+ems&source=bl&ots=ASQv_94yga&sig=uBRMRAtzLPgkisQOeAo7z_7OM_4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiAtpKbjqzTAhUjLcAKHch5BccQ6AEIIzAA#v=onepage&q=practicalities%20of%20ems&f=false

Holbrook, J. n.d..  Introduction to Environmental Management Systems and related Standards [online] (Accessed 2017) Available at: http://www.snh.org.uk/publications/on-line/advisorynotes/46/46.htm

Convention on Biological Diversity, n.d. What is Impact Assessment? [online] (Acesses 2017) Available at: https://www.cbd.int/impact/whatis.shtml

Sheate, W., n.d. Overview of the stages of the EIA process [online] SOAS (Accsessed 2017) Availible at: https://www.soas.ac.uk/cedep-demos/000_P507_EA_K3736-Demo/unit1/page_14.htm

Therivel, R. 2005. Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA). Need for SEA: limitations of EIA. United Nations University [online] (Accessed 2017) Available at: http://sea.unu.edu/course/index.html%3Fpage_id=30.html

European Environment Agency. (2016). Chapter 7: The application of environmental risk assessment in industry. [online] Available at: https://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/GH-07-97-595-EN-C2/chapter7h.html [Accessed  2017].

Env.gov.bc.ca. (2000). Environmental Risk Assessment (ERA): An Approach for Assessing and Reporting Environmental Conditions. [online] Available at: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/wld/documents/era.pdf [Accessed 13 Dec. 2017].

Booth, P. (2011). Conceptual Site Model Exercise. [online] Iaea.org. Available at: https://www.iaea.org/OurWork/ST/NE/NEFW/documents/IDN/ANL%20Course/Day_4/CSM.pdf [Accessed 13 Dec. 2017].

Netregs.org.uk. (n.d.). Vehicle emissions - NetRegs | Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland. [online] Available at: http://www.netregs.org.uk/environmental-topics/transport/vehicle-emissions/ [Accessed 13 Dec. 2017].

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