Local Authority Environmental Permits

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The Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 (EPR) and Local Authority Environmental Permits are applicable to a wide range of industry sectors that have the potential to impact on the environment through their activities and /or the materials they use.

Scotland and Northern Ireland have similar legislation but transposed to meet their own devolved regulatory structures.


What Are Local Authority Environmental Permits?

The terminology, categories of activities, and the regulatory responsibilities differ to the England and Wales regulations.

Below we will describe the pertinent aspects of the England and Wales perspective but ECL are capable of dealing with permitting enquiries all across the UK and have clients in all administrative areas.

There are three main categories of regulated facilities which are referred to as Part A1, Part A2 and Part B.

The different categories, in general, relate to the potential environmental impact they pose, as well as defining which regulatory body regulates the relevant activities.

In order to operate a regulated facility an operator is required to obtain an environmental permit from the relevant regulator by submitting an application and, if granted a permit, operate the activity in accordance with the conditions imposed in the permit for the activity.

ECL offer a range of services to those that need an environmental permit and are required to be regulated, as well as the regulators who have a statutory duty to regulate permitted activities.


What Are Regulated Facilities?

There are ten main classes of regulated facility which are:

  • Installations
  • Mobile Plant
  • Waste Operations
  • Mining Waste Operations
  • Radioactive Substances Activities
  • Water Discharge Activities
  • Groundwater Activities
  • Small Waste Incineration Plant
  • Solvent Emission Activities
  • Flood Risk Activities

The ten classes above have a range of activities that are undertaken by industry and depending on the nature, size or throughput, and scale of potential environmental impact, will be regulated by either EA/NRW, or local authorities.

Part A1 activities are regulated by the Environment Agency (EA) in England, and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) in Wales. Please refer to our ‘Part A1 Environmental Permits’ page for more details on these activities.

Part A2 and Part B activities are regulated by local authorities (this may be the District or Borough Council, Unitary Authority or Port Health Authority, depending on where you are).


Part A2 Processes and Activities

Part A2 activities tend to be more complex, generally larger sites and tend to have greater potential to impact on the environment.

They are regulated for all their potential emissions to the environment which includes: air, water, land, groundwater, noise, heat, vibration and energy efficiency.

There are eleven distinct sectors within the A2 category and these have their own specific sector guidance notes (SG Notes) which are:

SG1 A2 – Particleboard, Oriented Strand Board and Dry Process Fibreboard Sector Guidance Note
SG2 A2 – Glassmaking Sector Guidance Note
SG3 A2 – Ferrous Foundries Sector Guidance Note
SG4 A2 – Non-ferrous Metals Sector Guidance Note
SG5 A2 – Galvanising Sector Guidance Note
SG6 A2 – Surface Treatment Using Solvents Sector Guidance Note
SG7 A2 – Ceramics Sector, including Heavy Clay, Refractories, Calcining Clay and Whiteware Guidance Note
SG8 A2 – Rendering Sector Guidance Note
SG9 A2 Roadstone Coating, Mineral and Other Processes that Burn Recovered Fuel Oil Sector Guidance Note
SG10 A2 – Animal Carcass Incineration with capacity of less than 1 tonne per hour Sector Guidance Note

The A2 Timber Treatment Sector was introduced in 2015 but as yet there is no formal Sector Guidance Note.

Small Waste Incineration Plant (SWIP) were also introduced which are regulated to A2 standards but termed as Schedule 13 activities, but again there is currently no formal Guidance Note for these.


Part B Processes and Activities

Part B activities are generally smaller in size with less environmental impact potential. They are regulated in most cases for Emissions To Air only (which can include Odour), although discharge to water can be included. There are 69 different Part B activity Process Guidance Notes.

The Part B activities can be grouped in to distinct activity descriptions, as they appear in Part 2 of Schedule 1 of the EPR. They are summarised below:

Chapter 1 – Energy activities, Sections 1.1 and 1.2
Chapter 2 – Production and Processing of metals, Sections 2.1, 2.2 and 2.3
Chapter 3 – Mineral industries, Sections 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.5 and 3.6
Chapter 4 – The chemical industry, Section 4.1 and 4.8
Chapter 5 – Waste management, Section 5.1
Chapter 6 – Other activities, Section 6.3, 6.4, 6.5, 6.6, 6.7, and 6.8


Environmental Permit Regulatory Requirements

There are a number of basic regulatory requirements for permitted activities, the first of which is to obtain the necessary permit for the activity. Basic details of the various regulatory elements are detailed below:

Permit Application – Requires submission of technical data and information relevant to the activity on a form prescribed by the regulator, along with a payment for the application fee. The information must be sufficiently detailed to allow the regulator to determine the application and, if considered appropriate, issue a permit with relevant conditions.

Permit – The permit is issued and remains in force until such time as it is either revoked or surrendered. However, the non-payment of legally required annual subsistence fees may result in the regulator revoking a permit. There is no right of appeal for the operator under these circumstances.

Revocation of a permit means it would be no longer lawful to operate the activity and to do so would leave an operator liable to prosecution.

The Permit document will contain legally binding conditions that must be adhered to and which will be assessed through inspections of the activities by the regulator. Non-compliance with the conditions can result in a range of action by the regulatory, from warning letters to prosecution.

Depending on the type of activity there may be requirements to monitor emissions from the activity and report results to the regulator. There may be requirements to set up and maintain management systems to ensure the efficient running of operations and minimise impacts on the environment. Material usage data may be required to be kept or reported, such as solvent management plans and solvent consumption.

Permit Variation – It may be necessary for a permit to be varied over time, which may be because the activities on site have changed, regulations or guidance have updated, or because a periodic review is due.

If an operator proposes to change the process then they can make an application for a variation with details of the proposed changes notified to the regulator.

Alternatively the regulator may decide to vary a permit because the nature of activities have changed over time. It should be noted that failure to notify the regulator of relevant changes may be deemed an offence under the regulations.

Permit Transfer – An environmental permit can be transferred from one operator to another, in order to account for normal business transactions where activities change ownership or businesses buy other businesses.

Transfer Applications should be submitted prior to the new operator actually operating the activity.

Permit Surrender – An operator can make an application to surrender their environmental permit, this may be because the activity has ceased to operate or because the activity has reduced to a size where it no longer falls under the scope of the regulations.

It should be noted that some permits will contain conditions relevant to permit surrender where certain actions have to be taken before the regulator will accept the surrender application. This is particularly relevant to A2 activities, where perhaps a site condition report may be required to prove that the activities have not resulted in additional contamination of the land on which activity took place, or surrounding land.

Permit Revocation – The regulator may revoke a permit if it considers that it is no longer required. This could be because the business no longer operates, the level of activity has dropped to a level such that a permit is no longer required, or it could be because the operator has failed to pay the necessary annual subsistence fees.


Experts In Local Authority Environmental Permits

ECL have experienced and qualified staff who are able to deliver all elements of support for businesses who are required to have an environmental permit. We can deliver all the key elements required such as writing and submitting all the necessary documents for:

  • Permit Applications
  • Permit Variations
  • Permit Transfers
  • Permit Surrenders

We also have the necessary skills and resource to delivery regulatory support for local authorities through delivering permit inspections, determining permit applications, writing permits and varying permits. We are proud to deliver efficient and effective services to both the private and public sector.

Contact ECL via our Enquiry Form or call us on 01443 801215 for any queries regarding our wide range of Environmental Permit Consultancy Services such as local authority environmental permit services for Part A2 Processes and Part B Processes as well as Part A1 Environmental Permits.