About us

The RCEP photgraphed in 2009The RCEP is an independent standing body established in 1970 to advise the Queen, Government, Parliament, the devolved administrations and the public on environmental issues.   Although funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the RCEP is independent of Government Departments. The Commission maintains links with Parliamentary committees, pollution control agencies, research organisations, industry and environmental groups, and has an annual budget of around £1 million. The RCEP is also a member of the European Environment and Sustainable Development Advisory Councils (EEAC).

What we do

The primary role of the Commission is to contribute to policy development in the longer term by providing an authoritative factual basis for policy-making and debate, and setting new policy agendas and priorities. This requires consideration of the economic, ethical and social aspects of the issue as well as the scientific and technological aspects.

The Commission's terms of reference are:

“To advise on matters, both national and international, concerning the pollution of the environment; on the adequacy of research in this field; and the future possibilities of danger to the environment. Within this remit the Commission has freedom to consider and advise on any matter it chooses; the government may also request consideration of particular topics."

The Commission has interpreted ‘pollution' broadly as covering any introduction by man into the environment of substances or energy liable to cause hazards to human health, harm to living resources and ecological systems, damage to structures or amenity, or interference with legitimate uses of the environment.

RCEP activities

RCEP Members and Seretariat staff participate in conference, workshops and meetings throughout the year to disseminate the recommendations and advise published in RCEP reports.

How the Commission publishes its advice

The Commission's advice is mainly published in the form of reports.; Major reports are Command papers, in that they are presented to the United Kingdom Parliament by 'Command of Her Majesty'. The RCEP also makes short statements, generally as news releases, on matters it considers of special importance or which arise from studies.

Transparency and Openness

The RCEP aim to make the information they produce freely available to all. We have set out a publication scheme which details how we intend to do this.

Page last updated: 28 July 2009

The Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution