How to report Water Pollution, or a Cross-Compliance incident of damage to the environment or countryside

Date published: 28 August 2020

Last updated: 13 March 2024

This guidance informs the general public how to report:

  • water-pollution incidents
  • Cross-Compliance incidents of damage to the environment or countryside

Note, for a list of other types of environmental incident that can be reported, please refer to Report environmental incidents to the Department by following this link.


Water Pollution

Any ongoing water pollution incidents please call immediately any time, day or night, the water pollution hotline 0800 80 70 60.
Non urgent water pollution issues can be reported to the following email address:

Cross Compliance

All other incidents please call on 0300 2007 842 and ask for ‘Whistleblower’,

Information we need

To enable us to deal with your report as quickly as possible, please provide the following details:

  • Where is/was the incident taking place? Please provide a grid reference if possible. Otherwise, you should try to provide as accurate directions / descriptions of the location as possible.
  • What is/was happening?
  • Who do you think is/was responsible for the incident?
  • When approximately did the incident take place?

Types of Incidents we deal with

  • Damage or danger to the natural environment or countryside.
  • Damage to landscape features (dry stone walls, ditches or sheughs,
  • hedgerows, including trees in hedgerows and earth banks) including infilling or laying drainage  pipes in open ditches or sheughs.
  • Injury, damage or danger to birds or animals.
  • Damage or danger to bird’s habitat.
  • Suspected illegal hedge, tree or scrub cutting (including trimming, laying and coppicing between the 1st of March and the 31st of August. 
  • Ploughing between harvest and the 15th of January inclusive.
  • Burning of heather, gorse, whin or fern from the 15th of April to the 31st of August.
  • Pollution of water or land.
  • Suspected alterations to watercourses made without our consent (e.g. dredging, straightening, impounding or works to the bank or bed).
  • Unusual drops in river flow.
  • Application of organic manures, including slurry, poultry litter, sewage, sludge, abattoir waste and farmyard manure between the 15th of October and the 31st of January.
  • Application of chemical fertilizer from the 15th of September to the 31st of January.
  • Damage to Sites of Special Scientific Interest, damage within a Special Protection Area (SPA) or damage within a Special Area of Conservation (SAC).
  • Large scale dumping of waste, including certain hazardous waste.
  • Illegal waste sites.
  • Illegal activities relating to certain invasive non-native species (invasive alien species) (keeping, breeding, use or exchange, sell or advertise, allow to grow, cultivate or permit to reproduce, release into the environment or transport (except for eradication purposes)).
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