12 February 2024

Environmental Policy Implementation Community Launch

tree with gnarled branches

The launch event of the Environmental Policy Implementation Community (EPIC) took place on the 8th February 2024 at the Guildhall London.

What is EPIC?

EPIC is a new community of environmental experts within the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES), supporting the urgent implementation of ambitious environmental policies. EPIC is the result of a merger between the IES and Environmental Protection UK (EPUK), which was the UK’s oldest environmental charity. 

EPIC produces guidance, runs workshops and engages in thought-leadership on key environmental delivery challenges for their members: local authority officers and other environmental professionals delivering on the ground.

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Why implementation?

The launch of EPIC comes at a time when environmental policy implementation has never been more important. At the EPIC launch event, Dame Glenys Stacey, Chair of the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP), gave a keynote speech to leading members of the environmental profession, NGOs, arms-length bodies, government and academia.

Dame Glenys highlighted that the OEP shares EPIC’s focus on implementation: the need to turn plans and ambitions into actions and achievements at a local and national level. For many areas the right policies are in place and we ‘don’t need to reinvent the wheel’. Instead we need to urgently turn to delivery at scale.

Dame Glenys stated that effective implementation has emerged as a key theme throughout the OEP's reporting, including in their Annual Progress Report, Environmental Assessment Regimes Report and upcoming work on protected sites and the water environment. For instance, the OEP's assessment of Environmental Assessment Regimes found that ineffective regimes were down to the delivery of the regulations within the planning system, not the regulations themselves, with lack of access to data, issues with monitoring and evaluation, and lack of access to expertise within public authorities identified as the three key barriers to successful delivery.

EPIC Announcements

The launch event saw several announcements:

  • The circulation of an exposure draft of EPIC guidance for local authorities: Integrated Action on Air Quality and Climate Change. For more information, or to request a copy, please contact EPIC’s Policy Officer Ellie Savage (ellie@the-ies.org)
  • The relaunch of the EPUK Essential Environment publication to provide more detailed insights into the implications of regulatory changes for professionals, transitioning over time towards a free service for all IES and EPIC members.
  • All previous Environmental Protection UK guidance, leaflets or any other publications are now requested to be referred to as “EPIC (previously EPUK) guidance”.


Dame Glenys Stacey, Chair of the Office for Environmental Protection, said

"I am delighted to see EPIC up and running. Implementation is the single most important thing for the environment. Without implementation, very little changes for the better. I wish the organisation every success, and we at the OEP look forward to working alongside EPIC in the important work to be done."

Ruth Calderwood, Chair of EPIC and Air Quality Manager at the City of London, said

Ruth CalderwoodImplementing the commitments in the current, and any future, Environmental Improvement Plan, and the Government's other environmental policies, will be the challenge of the next 10 years. To meet that challenge, we need robust and coherent guidance, as well as evolving evidence of what works at the local level.

EPIC will play a key role in that landscape as an expert community by bringing together professionals, local authorities, academia, policy makers, and the public to solve pressing environmental challenges." 


Adam DonnanAdam Donnan, CEO of the Institution of Environmental Sciences, said

Environmental policy has no impact if it is not delivered successfully, which is why EPIC's focus is so important. Environmental scientists have a particularly key role to play here, as they are best placed to provide insights on implementation in practice.”



For more information, please contact Ellie Savage, EPIC Policy Officer: ellie@the-ies.org


Environmental Protection UK (EPUK) was a 125-year-old national charity that acted as an expert forum for problem analysis, policy development and practical policy implementation on key environmental issues. In recent years it focused particularly on the topics of air quality, land quality and noise. In each of these areas there is a particular problem in making effective connections between the aspirations, strategies and targets that are set at national level with the practicalities and possibilities for implementation and action at ground level by local authorities, business and other actors. 

By bringing together actors from many different sectors and disciplines EPUK contributed significantly to the evolution of better more practical policies at national level and their more effective implementation on the ground by local authorities, business and other actors. 

EPUK’s members were environmental experts, who, as practitioners, investigators or advisors, have considerable experience of the practical side of environmental protection. Members are drawn from local authorities, universities, industries, consultants and private individuals.

EPUK promoted evidence-based and integrated policymaking across a wide range of issues including public health, planning, transport, energy and climate. EPUK believes that the development of effective policy depends crucially on combining the knowledge and experiences of those who shape and formulate policy with that of those who implement policy at ground level. 

The Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES) is a UK-registered charity uniting science and people to solve environmental challenges. It is a professional membership organisation with over 6,000 members, representing the full spectrum of environmental disciplines – from fields as diverse as air quality, land condition, water, and education – wherever you find environmental work underpinned by science. Its skilled and knowledgeable membership act as a cohesive body of thinkers, problem solvers, educators, and practitioners.

The IES is an influential voice for environmental professionals, which works to promote evidence-informed decision-making. The IES is one of the UK’s fastest-growing professional bodies, averaging 14% membership growth per annum over the last five years, with a growing international membership.