Environmental Management Systems (EMS) 

For information on the impact of Brexit on oil and gas environmental legislation, please refer to the pdf document downloadable from the Home Page.

Key Standards and Legislation:

For more detail on the Legislation relevant to this page, please use the following links:

Supporting Standards and Legislation:

Guidance on BS EN ISO14001:2015 and BS 8555:2003 can be found at the British Standards Institute (BSI) website. This website includes both information on the standards and how to implement them. The information note for ISO 14011:2015 can also be found here.

Further information on EMAS can be found at the dedicated website.

Guidance on the reporting requirements for the EMS under OSPAR recommendation 2003/5 is available here.

OSPAR recommendation 2003/5:

The OSPAR recommendation requires that contracting operators must:

  • Implement an environmental management system in accordance with the principals of internationally recognised standards (Note: BS EN ISO 14001 is the only international standard)
  • Obtain verification of their environmental management system from the relevant verifier, e.g. UKAS
  • Develop an annual publicly available Environmental Statement (Annual Statement) including a description of the environmental management system, the environmental policy, objectives and targets, and a summary of environmental performance including relevant legislative requirements (e.g. OSPAR Recommendation 2003/5 including requirements) (Word document).

For operators who are not registered to ISO 14001 or EMAS, BEIS requires a number of actions to ensure full compliance with the requirements of the OSPAR Recommendation.The operators EMS must be independently verified to demonstrate it is in accordance with environmental requirements.

BS EN ISO 14001:

Any organisation can can apply for accreditation to ISO 14001. Organisations seeking accreditation must:

  • Implement the requirements of the standard (see the Performance Standards tab)
  • Contact UKAS to identify appropriate accreditation body
  • Arrange for audit by accreditation body

Organisations wishing to attain accreditation to EMAS must:

  • Be an organisation based or trading within the EU
  • Must have an environmental management system which meets the requirements of BS EN 14001
  • Contact UKAS to identify the appropriate accreditation body
  • Implement the requirements of EMAS
  • Arrange for audit by accreditation body
Environmental Management System:

All of the standards and recommendations require the establishment and implementation of an Environmental Management System all of which share common principals. The basic requirements of an EMS are outlined below:

  • Develop an environmental policy statement.
  • Identify environmental aspects, including highlighting those which are significant.
  • Identify relevant legislation and determine how requirements apply to the companies environmental aspects.
  • Develop environmental objectives and targets.
  • Ensure that there are available resources to comply with the requirements of the EMS.
  • Ensure that personnel have the relevant training or experience, particularly in areas where significant environmental aspects have been identified.
  • Identify potential emergency situations and accidents which may have environmental consequences and develop response and mitigation procedures.
  • Monitor and measure key characteristics of companies operations that could have significant environmental impacts.
  • Evaluate compliance with applicable legal requirements .
  • Undertake audits against the requirements of the standard and the requirements of the EMS.
DECC Review of Annual Statements:

Following a review of submitted Annual Statements BEIS issued revised guidance for the content of these effective from 1 June 2008 onward (see Guidance under the Legislation tab):

  • Operators to detail all UKCS operations including; all installations, FPSOs, tie-back fields, drilling operations and decommissioning.
  • Inclusion of operations schematic with location map.
  • Brief description of EMS and its ability to manage an improvement in environmental performance.
  • Copy of Environmental Policy.
  • Description of Environmental Goals.
  • Description of objectives and targets set to manage significant environmental impacts.
  • All installations are to report as a minimum on:
    • PON 1s – volume of oil and chemical notifications.
    • OPPC oil discharges – oil and water figures from EEMS.
    • Chemical use – using EEMS ranking classifications.
    • Waste products generated – as per EEMS.
    • Atmospheric emissions – as per EEMS.
Monitoring requirements:

Monitoring requirements for all three standards (BS EN ISO 14001/EMAS and BS8555/2003) depend on the nature and scale of the activities, products and services associated with the organisation.

However under all three schemes, organisations must monitor their:

  • Significant environmental aspects
  • Any restrictions set through legislative consents
  • Environmental performance
  • Any other restrictions set by additional internal requirements and commitments
OSPAR Recommendation 2003/5:

This promotes the use and implementation of Environmental management Systems within the offshore industry.

By 1 June 2007, all operators undertaking offshore activities during 2006 will have prepared an Annual Statement covering that calendar year and made the statement available to the public. A public statement is already a requirement for operators registered with EMAS. This promotes the use and implementation of Environmental Management Systems within the offshore industry.

All operators with an EMS that is accredited to ISO 14001 or EMAS will have commissioned and completed an independent verification of their EMS to confirm it is in accordance with the elements and requirements of the Recommendation by 1 September 2006. By 8 September 2006, all operators will have notified BEIS providing full details on the status of their EMS.

For operators who are not registered to ISO 14001 or EMAS, BEIS requires a number of actions to ensure full compliance with the requirements of the Recommendation. The operators EMS must be independently verified to demonstrate it is in accordance with environmental requirements.

Following a review of Annual Statements, BEIS issued revised Guidance on their content (see the Performance Standards tab).

BS EN ISO 14001:

BS EN ISO 14001 requires organisations to report internally at management review meetings. This includes:

  • Results of internal audits
  • Evaluation of compliance with legal requirements and other requirements associated with the organisation
  • Communication from external interested parties including complaints
  • Environmental performance
  • Achievement of objectives and targets
  • Corrective and preventative actions
  • Follow up actions from previous management review meetings
  • Changing circumstances (e.g. legal, new developments, changes to activities, etc.)
  • Recommendation for improvements and changes to the EMS (including policy/ objectives, etc.)
EMAS: It is a requirement of EMAS that participating organisations regularly produce a public environmental statement that reports on their environmental performance. This is a voluntary publication of environmental information, whose accuracy and reliability has been independently checked by an environmental verifier, that gives EMAS and those organisations that participate enhanced credibility and recognition.The requirement for a statement is covered by annual environmental statements produced under the OSPAR Agreement.

Reporting requirement depend on the stage of the standard the organisation has achieved certification to and whether the organisation is aiming to implement BS EN ISO 14001 to EMAS.


BS EN ISO 14001/EMAS/BS 8555: 2003:

Once an organisation has achieved accreditation to the standards, failure to comply can result in an organisation losing its accredited status.

EMAS/BS EN ISO 14001/BS8555: 2003: For each of the standards external verification is required by a UKAS accredited verifier. The period of external verification will vary depending on the length of time the organisation has been accredited, however it is generally an annual requirement in the initial stages of accreditation.

Revised ISO 14001 receives overwhelming support:


Revision of ISO 14001 has moved into its final stages with the results of the latest positive ballot on the Draft International Standard. 

Revision to ISO 14001 Standard:

ISO is in the process of revising the current ISO 14001 standard. The revised standard is due to be published in January 2015. An information note (PDF document), issued by ISO, provides an overview on the scope, process, time lines and emerging changes.

An agreement has now been reached on the draft text for the revised ISO 14001 Standard for the next round of consultation.

Commission Decision 2007/747/EC:

Decision 2007/747/EC formally recognises certification procedures in EU eco-management and audit scheme (EMAS).