Synchrotron based μ-XRF, μ-XAS and μ-XRD have made a major impact in the field of environmental science in the last ten years. One of the first seven ‘day one’ beamlines on the Diamond Light Source is a microfocus spectroscopy beamline, beamline I18. Here the current status of the beamline and the opportunities it presents in the field of environmental science are described, with results from two of the first experiments also included. The first is based on the use of bonemeal to remediate soil. We used Zn K-edge and Pb L3-edge spectroscopy to characterize the speciation of these two elements on a soil after bonemeal treatment. The results are compared with bulk measurements taken on the whole soil and standard materials. The second experiment described here is a study of the speciation and association of Ni in a laterite from Moa Bay, Cuba. Here the differences in the Ni speciation associated with Mn oxides are examined and compared with Fe oxides phases.