Environmental Permitting, What They Are and Do You Need One?

GeorgeAs part of my job, I often complete Environmental Permit applications. I’m often asked what they are or “do I need one”? I’m hoping this article along with our website can help to answer these questions.

In England and Wales, if you are thinking of or are currently running an operation that involves the treatment of waste, the chances are you may need an Environmental Permit. Depending on the type of permit or exemption you require it will be regulated by either your Local Authority or the Environment Agency. ‘Treatment’ is considered to be; where waste has a process applied to it – other than simple storage processes like baling or compaction – or where waste from other sites is stored.

The purpose of an environmental permit is to ensure that your waste operation is carried out in a way that does not impact the environment negatively. In order to obtain an environmental permit your business or organisation must comply with certain criteria specified by either the Local Authority or the Environment Agency.

What are these criteria? The criteria will concern any emissions given off from your operation to either air, ground or water that may impact on the environment. The permitting process also takes into account the potential impact of any emissions on nearby sensitive receptors such as residents or conservation areas.

It is not often a simple case of saying “there are no emissions”, more often than not the regulator will require detailed evidence this is the case in the form of a report or a model. If your site does release emissions, then you have to be able to state what actions you are going to take in order to prevent them having a negative impact.

The permitting process can be a time consuming one, it can take up to 13 weeks to determine the application, the cost of which can also vary significantly. The variation in application time and cost comes down to the complexity of the permit being applied for. If you would like to discuss what type of permit you think you may need, then please feel to get in touch.

Blog post by George Bagley

E4environment is an environmental consultancy providing professional, practical advice and expertise to both the private and public sector on a wide range of environmental issues.