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UCL Heads of Department Environmental Responsibilities

The UCL Heads of Department responsibilities are defined in the UCL Academic Manual as follows:

10 Safety and Environmental Sustainability 

10.1 The Head of Department will demonstrate commitment to UCL's published Health and Safety and Environmental Sustainability Policies by making, recording and ensuring the implementation of arrangements to meet the policies and associated UCL requirements. 

10.2 The Head of Department will be required to set out and record a summary of the Department’s priorities for improvement action in the current year which will reflect the outcomes from their annual review as well as the overall UCL Safety Objectives and Environmental Sustainability Strategy. 

10.3 The Head of Department will ensure that their organisation is adequate to ensure that the departmental arrangements will be implemented to meet UCL requirements for Safety and Environmental Sustainability. 

10.4 The Head of Department will be required to appoint a Departmental Safety Officer, a Departmental Environment Officer and other Nominated Persons specified by UCL Policy and requirements. (These Officers and Nominated Persons must be competent to advise the Head of Department of the arrangements within the Department which are necessary to discharge adequately the Head of Department's responsibilities.)

Read the UCL Academic Manual.

Understanding these environmental responsibilities

To meet the responsibilities outlined above, Heads of Department, with support from their Departmental Environment Officer and/or Green Champions, are expected to:

1. Identify their main team activities and associated environmental impacts/risks and identify priorities for improvement. It may help to consider your department's use of chemicals, fuel, oil, water, energy, what you buy and what you dispose of:

  • You may be required to show evidence of how you have identified these priorities,
  • Ensure that arrangements are in place to manage environmental impacts/risks,
  • This might be in the form of procedures or roles and responsibilities for example.

2. Record your environmental management arrangements on your departmental website (i.e. name and contact details of the assigned Environment Officer, team and/or committee, along with key procedures):

  • The UCL Sustainability Team will check this website to check that such arrangements are in place when planning annual departmental audits.

3. Ensure that a member of the department includes sustainability at new staff/student inductions (ideally forming part of the Head of Department's talk):

4. Ensure that sustainability is discussed as a team, either by adding to team/departmental meeting agenda as a standing item, or incorporating into other areas of discussion, or by having a dedicated meeting or committee.

5. Ensure that you are aware of the environmental legislation applicable to your department and that you are compliant:

  • You can sign up to the CEDREC legislation updates database and email bulletins,
  • UCL has a legal register which you can review and notify the UCL Sustainability Team of any required changes.

6. Conduct an annual management review of arrangements for environment, including risk management and performance:

  • Green Impact can be a useful tool to do this or a departmental audit can be arranged with the UCL Sustainability team,
  • Look at the procedures you have in place and consider if they are effective,
  • Review your performance in key areas and see if you can target improvement: this gives you a focused initiative for the next year.

    Further information

    Although the above duties are the responsibility of the Head of Department, they will be supported by the Departmental Environment Officer where deemed appropriate. If you'd like further information about this, please contact the UCL Sustainability Team.