5 May 2023

New community: IES & EPUK focus on implementation

countryside with overlaid text: "IES & EPUK announce EPIC: the new Environmental Policy Implementation Community"

IES and EPUK’s new joint focus on the implementation of environmental policy

Media release, 9th May 2023

Environmental Protection UK (EPUK) will be joining the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES) to create a new unit focusing on the implementation of environmental policy. EPUK will become the new Environment Policy Implementation Community (EPIC) within the IES family.

The practical implementation of many environmental policies is frequently entrusted to local authorities and other actors operating at local level. EPIC is being established to act as a forum and centre of excellence for local authorities and others who are concerned with this ground level implementation of environment policy. 

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The work of EPIC

EPIC will act as a knowledge hub for the dissemination of information, guidance, and best practice on implementing environment policy at local level, building on the expertise and experience of those with first-hand knowledge of the practical problems involved.

EPIC will also feedback informed and expert commentary into national policy debates, so that national policies can develop effectively with full knowledge of the practicalities of ground level implementation.

EPIC will take over EPUK’s current work programme and activities and will initially build its work programme around the three main topics which have been at the core of EPUK’s work – air quality, noise pollution and contaminated land. With the additional resources and reach provided by the IES and the input of IES’s wider membership, EPIC will be in a position to more effectively undertake the crucial task of securing effective local implementation of environmental policy.

What next?

Ambitious environmental goals rely on strong implementation to make them a reality. Policy makers cannot overlook the importance of delivery. With several critical policies emerging in recent years at the national and global level, implementation is about to become the environmental challenge of the next decade. In that context, EPIC will play a key role in the policy implementation landscape.

One early task for EPIC will be to assist local authorities and others as they to work out the best ways to implement at local level the Government’s recent Environmental Improvement Plan for England, and the corresponding plans for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. 

All current individual and Local Authority members of EPUK will be invited to join the IES, and working together with IES members with similar concerns and knowledge to form the EPIC community. 

EPIC will also actively seek to recruit new members and stakeholders amongst local authorities and others concerned with implementation of environmental policy at local level.

Once EPIC is established, EPUK will cease to operate as a stand-alone organisation. EPUK’s name and brand will continue for a period to be linked with the creation of EPIC and to some of the key activities and events that EPIC will continue within the IES family, including the annual conference and regional seminars and workshops. Some leading members of EPUK will be closely involved with the governance of EPIC and will interact with other relevant IES committees to champion effective implementation.


Jim LonghurstJames Longhurst, President of EPUK and vice-President IES, said
I am delighted that our two organisations, each with a tremendous track record on environmental policy concerns are coming together to launch a new expert Community devoted to promoting and sustaining practical approaches to the implementation of environmental policy at local level.

There is much to be done in this crucial area of implementation, and I am sure that the combination of the forces of our two organisations will have an important part to play in advancing this cause.”


Julie HillJulie Hill, Chair of the IES Council, said “We are delighted to welcome this important organisation into the IES family. Through the work of EPIC, the mission of EPUK will be sustained by an expert community sharing insights on the critical issue of policy implementation.

This latest development will strengthen the existing policy work of the IES and will be instrumental as we work to stand up for the voice of science, scientists, and the natural world, from policy design to policy delivery.”


Christopher Fry

Christopher Fry, Chairman of EPUK Trustees sees the merger with IES as an exciting opportunity to continue the mission of seeking improvements in environmental protection.

He is enthusiastic about the new venture and sincerely hopes that EPUK members will continue their support through the new Environmental Policy Implementation Community and stakeholder fora within the new home of IES.




Environmental Protection UK (EPUK) is a 125-year-old national charity that acts as an expert Forum for problem analysis, policy development and practical policy implementation on key environmental issues. In recent years it has focussed 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 has been able over the years to contribute 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 are 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 promotes 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 5,850 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. 

EPIC will draw its initial members from EPUK and IES. It will be governed by a committee drawn initially from EPUK and IES operating on a semi-autonomous basis as one of several Communities belonging to the larger IES family.