Pollution control, inspection and permitting

Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 

Contents

 


Regulated activities

Under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 (the Environmental Permitting Regulations), local authorities must regulate certain types of industrial processes and other activities such as dry cleaners and roadstone coating. This is to reduce any pollution they may cause and manage any emissions that could impact on air quality. You must have an environmental permit if you operate a regulated facility.

 

A regulated facility includes:

  • installations or mobile plant carrying out listed activities

  • waste operations (unless an exempt waste operation)

  • small waste incineration plant

  • mining waste operations

  • solvent emission activities

  • (and others, such as radioactive substances activities, water discharge activities and groundwater activity, which are outside the scope of this page)

 

Listed activities include:

  • energy - burning fuel, gasification, liquefaction and refining activities

  • metals - manufacturing and processing metals

  • minerals - manufacturing lime, cement, ceramics or glass

  • chemicals - manufacturing chemicals, pharmaceuticals or explosives, storing chemicals in bulk

  • waste - incinerating waste, operating landfills, recovering waste

  • solvents - using solvents

  • other - manufacturing paper, pulp and board, treating timber products, coating, treating textiles and printing, manufacturing new tyres, intensive pig and poultry farming

 

The listed activities are divided into five categories. These are:

  • Part A(1)

  • Part A(2)

  • Part B

  • small waste incineration plant

  • solvent emission activity

They are regulated by two different regulators:

  • Environment Agency

  • local authorities

See the following section on Permits for more detail.

 


Permits

Permits are issued by the Environment Agency or your local authority (the regulator) depending upon the category your business falls within:

  • Part A(1) installations or mobile plant are regulated by the Environment Agency

  • Part A(2) installations are regulated by the local authority

  • Part B installations or mobile plant are regulated by the local authority (except waste operations carried out at Part B installations which are regulated by the Environment Agency)

  • small waste incineration plant (i.e. technical unit with a processing capacity less than or equal to 10 tonnes per day for hazardous waste or 3 tonnes per hour for non-hazardous waste) are regulated by the local authority

  • waste operations or waste mobile plant (carried on other than at an installation, or by Part A or Part B mobile plants) are regulated by the Environment Agency

  • mining waste operations are regulated by the Environment Agency

  • solvent emission activities are regulated by local authorities

The Part A permits control activities with a range of environmental impacts, including:

  • emissions to air, land and water

  • energy efficiency

  • waste reduction

  • raw materials consumption

  • noise, vibration and heat

  • accident prevention

Part B permits control activities which result in emissions to air (only).

Schedule 13A permits control emissions to air and to water.

Further detailed descriptions of the listed activities can be found in the Environmental Permitting Regulations.

Permits have conditions that protect the environment and minimise pollution from the regulated activity. These conditions include capacities of equipment or maximum outputs of plant, details of equipment used to control emissions, limits on emissions and requirements for monitoring, testing and reporting.

HM Government publishes guidance on the appropriate pollution standards and permit conditions are written with reference to these process guidance notes (PGN). Each PGN contains details of the best available techniques (BAT) to avoid pollution, and were developed by HM Government, local government and operators and trade organisations involved with the processes. The law requires the standards to achieve a balance between protecting the environment and the cost of so doing. The regulator is required to have regard to that guidance.

Operators can appeal where a permit application is refused or where it is granted, but the operator disagrees with the conditions.

Once a permit is issued the operator must comply with the conditions. To make sure an operator is complying, regulators carry out inspections.

Regulators categorise installations according to the risk they represent (high, medium or low risk) based on the potential environmental impact in the event of an incident, and the effectiveness and reliability of the operator.

Where a business fails to comply with the Environmental Permitting Regulations, the regulators have the power to serve various types of notice and the power to prosecute.

The Environmental Permitting Regulations are often updated and change. Permits automatically become covered by any new Regulations without any need to alter the wording on the permit.

 

Mobile plant

Mobile plant is either a Part B mobile plant or waste mobile plant. A single permit cannot cover mobile plant combined with any other class of regulated facility. The Environment Agency regulates waste mobile plant.

Permits for Part B mobile plant are issued by local authority where operator has their principal place of business. When the plant is used in another local authority area, notice must be given to that authority before the .

 

Part A(2) installations

Regulation by local authorities of Part A(2) installations includes any waste operations, water discharge activities or groundwater activities carried on as part of the installation or mobile plant. We will liaise with the Environment Agency in relation to these matters.

 

Government guidance

To check if you need a permit and for further information about environmental permits please see Government’s guidance.

 


Exempt waste operations

Some waste treatment activities only pose a low risk to the environment or to human health and may be exempted from the requirement for a full environmental permit. If an exemption applies, the activity needs to be registered with one of the regulators. While most exemptions must be registered with the Environment Agency two exemptions must be registered with the relevant local authority. More information can be found here.

 


Who can apply for a permit?

The application must be made by the operator of the regulated installation. For waste operations no permit will be granted unless any required planning permission has first been granted.

 


How much is a permit?

Fees are set annually by HM Government for permits issued under the Environmental Permitting Regulations. This includes the fees for an application, transfer or surrender, substantial change and annual subsistence.

Subsistence fees are payable on an annual basis from 1 April each year. You will be sent an invoice for these. Subsistence fees become due when the permit is issued and will be pro-rata in the first year. You will be sent an invoice for the subsistence fees.

The risk-based fee and charges scheme is designed so that industry pays reasonable costs to the regulators under the 'polluter pays' principle. Ultimately the greater the risk, the higher the risk banding the activity will fall into, and the greater the fees due.

Further information can be found from HM Government (Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs).

 


Application forms

Part A (1) permits

Permits for Part A(1) installations are available from the Environment Agency - apply for an environmental permit.

 

Part A(2) and B permits

These are issued by the Council. In the majority of cases, operators should apply for permit when they have drawn up full designs, but not before starting construction work.

All permits should be in place for LA-IPPC and LAPPC before operations commence.

Please contact Environmental Protection on 0191 211 6102 or by email: psr@newcastle.gov.uk to discuss your process before completing any application forms.

 


Application evaluation process

Permit applications must include:

  • details of the applicant and any holding company

  • site map

  • a written description of the installation

  • details of emissions to atmosphere and the proposed control measures and monitoring them

  • environmental management procedures and policy

  • the required fee

The Council will pay regard to the protection of the environment taken as a whole by, in particular, preventing or, where that is not practicable, reducing emissions into the air, water and land. We may need to consult with others, such as the Environment Agency.

The Council may inform the public of the application and must consider any representations.

The application must be from the operator of the regulated facility and the Council must be satisfied that they will operate the facility in accordance with the conditions of the environmental permit.

If we need information from you that has not been provided, we will contact you to let you know. If this information is not then given to us within a reasonable time, the application will be deemed to be withdrawn.

Although much of the content of any permit is set down in HM Government guidance, you have the opportunity to comment on permit conditions. We want to work with businesses to ensure that permits reflect real working practices and only impose essential pollution controls.

Once your application is duly made (there is no missing information and you have paid the correct fee), the legislation gives the council four months to process your application; three months if it is an application for dry cleaners.

 


Will tacit consent apply?

Tacit consent does not apply to applications for environmental permits. This means you must not carry out any activity which requires an environmental permit until you receive the relevant permit.

If you have not heard from the Council within a reasonable period, please contact us.

 


What happens if my permit is refused?

Please contact us in the first instance.

An applicant who is refused an environmental permit may appeal to the Secretary of State (Planning Inspectorate). Appeals must be lodged no later than six months from the date of our decision.

Completed appeals should be made to:
Environment Appeals Team
The Planning Inspectorate
Room 3/25 Hawk Wing
Temple Quay House
2 The Square
Temple Quay
Bristol
BS1 6EA

Appeal documents can be downloaded here.

If an application to vary, transfer or surrender an environmental permit has been refused or if the applicant objects to conditions imposed on the environmental permit they may also appeal to the Secretary of State (Planning Inspectorate).

Appeals must be lodged in relation to a regulator initiated variation, a suspension notice or an enforcement notice, not later than two months from the date of the variation or notice and in any other case not later than six months from the date of the decision.

 


Changes to process or permit

You must tell us if you intend to extend or change your operation. A change in operation means 'a change in the nature and functioning, or an extension of the installation which may have consequences for the environment'. It could involve either technical alterations or modifications in operational or management practices, including changes to raw materials or fuels used and to the installation throughput. You should tell us at least 14 days before making the change and, depending on the change, you may need to complete a variation form. Please contact us for advice.

If you are currently operating an installation at reduced levels or have stopped using it, you can apply to have the plant mothballed. If we agree that the plant has been mothballed, you will not have the permit for as long as this continues. You will still be charged an annual fee of 40% of the usual fee. Mothballing a plant allows for the permit not be revoked or surrendered, so should you wish to restart the activity, there is no need to apply for another permit. 

 


Public registers

Local authorities are required by Environmental Permitting Regulations to maintain a public register containing information on the installations and processes they regulate.

The Environment Agency also maintains a public register of activities they authorise and regulate.

The Council's public register and permits can also be viewed by appointment at the Civic Centre in Newcastle upon Tyne between the hours of 9 a.m. to 4.30 p.m., Monday to Friday. To arrange to view the register or permits, telephone: 0191 211 6102, or email: psr@newcastle.gov.uk

Some information may be kept from the public registers and not viewed by customers on the grounds of national security or commercial confidentially.

 


Inspections

Once permitted, an regulated facility requires regular inspection by us. The frequency of inspection partly depends upon the type of installation or activity permitted, but is also dependent upon the risk rating.

An installation or process is rated as high, medium or low risk depending upon the score it achieves against a pro-forma for that process. The risk rating is mostly influenced by how well the operator complies with the conditions in the permit. The risk rating is determined at the time of the inspection and applies to the following year.

A process with a low rating may only be inspected once every three years, whilst a process with a high rating will be inspected at several times a year.

The risk rating may also influence the amount of annual subsistence paid in the following year.

 


Enforcement and penalties

Enforcement actions are taken in accordance with the our Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and relevant Government guidance.

You may be fined, imprisoned for up to 5 years, or both, if you fail to comply with the requirement to hold an environmental permit.

You may be committing a criminal offence and may be fined, imprisoned for up to 2 years or both, if you:

  • fail to provide information when requested

  • provide false or misleading information

  • make a false entry in any records you keep

  • forge or use a forged document or permit

The application may be withdrawn if you fail to provide information requested in relation to your application.

If the court believes you have the power to remedy your contravention, you may be ordered to take specified steps for remedying the matter, in addition to, or instead of, a fine or imprisonment.

If the Council takes action to prevent pollution or remedy any pollution that has occurred as a result of your actions, they may seek to recover the costs of doing so from you.

 

If you breach a permit condition

It is an offence for a person to fail to comply with or to contravene an environmental permit condition.

You may be served with an enforcement notice if you’ve breached a permit condition or you’re likely to. The notice will include the:

  • suspected breaches

  • steps that you must take to remedy them

  • time period you have to take such steps

You may be served with a suspension notice, suspending your permit, if you regulated facility is causing, or is likely to cause, serious pollution.

It is an offence to fail to comply with the requirements of an enforcement notice or suspension notice.

You may be fined, imprisoned for up to 5 years, or both, if you fail to comply with an environmental permit condition or with an enforcement notice.

 

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