Environmental Permit / IPPC Overview
The Environmental Permitting (EP) Regulations came into effect on 6th April 2008 throughout the UK; since then they have been updated by the Environmental Permit 2010 Regulations (as amended in 2013, 2014 and 2015). This replaced the Pollution Prevention Regulations, which have been in force since 2000 as the IPPC regime. In Scotland and Ireland, the regulations are still referred to as IPPC.
These regulations include the requirements of several European directives, including the Industrial Emissions directive, the Combustion Large Plant Directive (to be superseded by Industrial Emissions Directive on 1st January 2016), the Solvents Emission Directive, and others.
The main aim of the Environmental Permit Regulations is to authorise industrial processes, including some waste industry activities, which could have a significant impact on the environment.
Processes Covered By EP
The types of processes covered by EP / IPPC include:
- chemical manufacture (that is making by reaction, not formulation or mixing)
- oil and gas refining and processing
- certain discharges to surface water and groundwater
- food and drink manufacture
- intensive farming – pigs and poultry
- metal industries
- paper, pulp and cardboard manufacturing
- printing and textile manufacture, including coating activities
- radioactive substances activities on nuclear and non-nuclear sites
- waste -incineration and energy recovery, mining wastes etc
For many permitted processes, you need to have a permit in place before you can start to operate, as a permit is required regardless of the size of the operation.
However, some permits, such as some waste operations, intensive farming, food and drink processing, and metal plating activities, are based on a threshold. Where a permit threshold exists, you must not exceed this threshold before being granted a permit.
There are 3 main types of permit:
- Part A1 – most hazardous activities, regulated by the Environment Agencies (EA / SEPA / EAW / NIEA)
- Part A2 – less hazardous activities, regulated by the Local Authority
- Part B – activities releasing emissions to air not covered by A1 or A2 permits, regulated by the Local Authority
Part A1 permits may either be “Low Impact” or “Full” permits, where Low Impact permits are used for lower risk sites requiring less “regulatory oversight” (inspections and visits).
There are also “Standard Rules” permits for some simpler activities which fall between the scope of exemptions and requiring a full permit. The Environment Agencies are the regulators for these permit types.
Some industrial and business activities have the potential to affect the environment in a less serious way. These activities are either currently considered to be outside permit scope altogether, or are allowed under an Exemption. Exemptions must be applied for, and are granted by the relevant Environment Agency in your region (link below).
Environmental Permits are held for as long as the operations which require them are carried out on site. Fees are usually charged for: making a permit application; annual subsistence fees for holding a permit; and for surrendering the permit. There are also fees for transferring the permit to another operator.
Many lower-risk operations have fixed fees, but the higher risk operations are charged at a variable rate depending on the type of operations, emissions levels, sensitivity of the surrounding environment, etc.
Other information is available on our website, and you can also download a free factsheet on Environmental/ IPPC permits (no email or other information required for access). We also have an EP Application Toolkit if you are considering applying for, or going through, the application process, details below.
We can help you by offering different types of IPPC advice:
- Understand your permit status and obligations, including whether you need a permit, when you might need it, and what the costs might be.
- Write your environmental permit application.
- Meet your ongoing environmental permit requirements.
- Produce your site report and ongoing monitoring plans.
Please call us on 01422 24 22 22 or email us. if you would like to talk to Janet about your Environmental /IPPC permit issues.