Explore: Environment

Pollution, Prevention & Control Officer
Environment Agency

info Issues viewing the video?

Charlotte S

0.00.00 My name’s Charlotte S. I’m a Pollution, Prevention and Control Officer and I work for the Environment Agency. Well I suppose you could say I’m a policeman for the environment really. I look after the chemical industry, that’s my area of specialism and I make sure that they comply with environmental law. Generally try to minimise the impact the industry has on the environment.

0.00.30 I was a fairly good all rounder at school. I found science subjects more interesting and so after doing my O Levels I went on to do A levels in maths, physics and chemistry. I wasn’t really sure about what it was I actually wanted to do with that. Seeing as my father had also worked in engineering, although he was in the aeronautical industry, he’d said to me what about engineering and so I decided to give it a go.

0.01.00 So I applied for courses in chemical engineering and I went to Bradford University. My parents certainly never pressurised me and I think if anything they were a bit the other way, that they felt that really the thing to do was to, you know, get a job and earn some money and it was me saying well actually I’d quite like to try university. Neither of my parents have been to university so I suppose for them it wasn’t the, sort of the natural path.

0.01.30 There was one particular lecturer, Professor Geldarts, and he was a great inspiration to me because I’d struggled with my A levels the first, I did my A levels twice because the first time I did them I had a really bad attack of exam nerves and crashed out quite badly. And obviously at university, coming into university I was quite nervous that you know I was going to have the same problem again and he was a really big help to me in that respect and you know saying to me well, you know, you know that you can do it and I’ve seen that you can do it and

0.02.00 I think you’ll be a good, you know, you can be a good engineer. I mean I graduated in 1993. Then there was certainly some prejudice against female engineers. It taught me not to be too sensitive. But that’s helped me in my later career in what I do now that it helps me to get my point across because I’m not afraid to be criticised or to stand up for my position.

0.02.30 I was made redundant in 2001. Unfortunately the site that I was working at closed. Unfortunately at that time I was expecting my first child and obviously the opportunities for employment are somewhat limited when you’re pregnant. The Environment Agency interested me because they were a very good employer in terms of, you know, their family friendly policies and I just felt that it was an exciting opportunity and you know the right time in my life.

0.03.00 So I decided I was going to go and be an inspector. I like sport. I like horse riding and racquet sports. I run. I enjoy doing things with my children. We try to get them, you know, to enjoy walking, taking them on little walks and teaching them about wildlife and birds and trees and things.

0.03.30 I see myself trying to influence the Agency, the Environment Agency internally in how they deal with industry and trying to influence industry in how they deal with the environment. So in a more influencing role I feel that that’s really where my strengths are and that’s what I’d like to do and I think that that would, you know, by doing that I can bring some real value to society.


Charlotte S is a Pollution, Prevention and Control Officer for the Environment Agency – “you could say I’m a policeman for the environment”. She found it a challenge being a woman in Chemical Engineering but had support from her University Professor. The Environment Agency offered her exciting opportunities together with family friendly policies.

More information about Environment professionals

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

52%  male 
48%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Jobholders in this unit group investigate, address, and advise on a variety of terrestrial and marine environment and resource management issues, including the development and implementation of environmental policies and remedies that address the impacts of human activities and industrial processes on the environment.
A good degree in a relevant subject is normally a minimum entry qualification, and some employers will require a postgraduate qualification. Relevant work experience to complement academic qualifications is highly desirable. Professional qualifications across a wide range of areas of work are available.
  • Identifies contamination of land, air or water and assesses any adverse impact on the environment;
  • Advises on and provides solutions for mitigating the effects of such contamination;
  • Implements remediation works;
  • Carries out environment-related desk-based research and fieldwork to collect, analyse and interpret data to determine their validity, quality and significance;
  • Carries out environmental audits and environmental impact assessments;
  • Communicates scientific and technical information to relevant audiences in an appropriate form, via reports, workshops, educational events, public hearings;
  • Assists organisations to conduct their activities in an environmentally appropriate manner;
  • Implements, reviews and advises on regulatory and legislative standards, guidelines and policies;
  • Provides professional guidance to clients, government agencies, regulators and other relevant bodies, having regard for sustainable approaches and solutions.
Employment by region
Top 10 industries for this job
Other professional 6012
Head offices, etc 4760
Public admin. & defence 4210
Food & beverage services 4159
Architectural & related 2853
Construction 2516
Education 2478
Services to buildings 2228
Scientific research 1085
Employment status

From personal careers advice to finding work, see our round-up of
useful websites to help you on your way

Explore more videos by: