Environmental Permitting

Green Earth Management provide advice and guidance on Environmental Permits, any business whose activities could potentially harm the environment or human health need an environmental permit to operate. The permit gives the holder permission to carry out certain types of activities at a specific location. It sets conditions, which if followed, will protect the environment and human health.

Environmental permits are traditionally issued for Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC) and Waste Management Licensing (WML) regulations. However, their scope has recently been widened to include water discharge and groundwater activities, radioactive substances and provision for a number of Directives, including the Mining Waste Directive.

There are three key permit categories defined by the Environment Agency; Exemptions, Standard Permits and Bespoke Permits.

Exemptions are for activities that do not require a permit. Many of these need to be registered with the Environment Agency so they know they are taking place. Most Exemptions are free.

Standard Permits are a set of fixed rules for common activities. These permits are often for developments that pose a low level risk to the environment such as a household waste centre. If a business can meet the requirements then a Standard Permit can be issued. These permits have fixed charges.

Bespoke Permits are written specifically for your activity. As activities requiring this permit pose a higher level of risk to the environment, e.g. an incinerator, they take longer to process than Standard Permits and as a result tend to be more expensive.

If you can’t meet the requirements for an Exemption or Standard Permit then you will need to apply for a Bespoke Permit.

The Environment Agency is responsible for granting or refusing Environmental Permits, setting the conditions and ensuring that permit holders comply with them. They will take enforcement action if the permit holder breaks the conditions of their permit or does not have a permit when they need one. Enforcement action may involve:

  • Communicate with them what they must do to protect the environment and comply with the law;
  • Carrying out work at the site themselves and charging for their costs;
  • Suspending the environmental permit, changing some conditions and/or take the permit away;
  • If necessary, taking the developer to court.

Environmental permits are not to be confused with Planning Permission. Planning Permission allows the site to be constructed whereas the Environmental Permit allows the site to operate once it has been constructed.