There are both standard rules and bespoke permits for businesses that use, treat and dispose of waste. In this article, we’ll explain whether you need a permit, which type is suitable for your business and how to apply.
An exhaustive guide to environmental waste permits can be referenced on Gov UK’s environmental waste permits guidance.
Before we continue, just a quick note to emphasise the importance of waste permits – you’re breaking the law if you operate without a permit when you should have one.
Furthermore, there is separate guidance for businesses to register as a waste carrier. This applies to waste transporters, buyers, sellers, brokers and dealers.
Regulatory position statement
First an exception that proves the rule. The Environment Agency will typically not take enforcement action if you have not applied for a permit, when:
- Your activities are covered by aregulatory position statement (RPS)
- You comply with the conditions of the RPS
- Your activity does not cause environmental pollution, or damage human health
Each RPS has an expiry date. It is important to check with the Environment Agency whether your RPS will be extended at the point of expiry. If you’re RPS is not renewed you may need to apply for an exemption or a permit for the activity you undertake.
You need to pay fees and charges for permits
When applying for a permit you will need to pay an application fee.
A table outlining the different charges can be found here – environmental permits and abstraction licences: tables of charges.
Payment is sent at the point of application.
Successful applications are then followed by an annual ‘subsistence’ fee. The fee is calculated based on your activity and the type of permit you applied for.
Always contact the Environment Agency if you are unsure how much to pay.
Standard rules permits vs bespoke permits
First check if you need a standard rules permit, as these are more common than bespoke permits.
Applying for a standard permit is quicker and cheaper than a bespoke permit, but you must apply for a bespoke permit if you do not meet the conditions for the standard rules permit.
Don’t be tempted to apply for a standard permit if your activity meets the bespoke permit conditions or you could face fines and enforcement action.
You may need to apply for more than one standard permit at the same site, or add a standard rule to a bespoke permit, if this is the case you need to confirm that each standard rule is for a self-contained activity.
How to apply for a standard rules environmental permit
Most standard rules permits can be applied for online. But, before you submit make sure to check your site meets the location criteria. The pre-application advice service offers heritage and nature conservation screenings.
How to apply for a bespoke permit
As stated, you must apply for a bespoke permit if your activity does not meet the conditions for a standard rules permit.
There are a number of necessary steps to perform before applying:
- Confirm whether you meet the legal operator and competency requirements(including technical competency)
- Develop a management system(written procedures which demonstrate how you will minimise risk of pollution)
- Complete a risk assessment
- Build systems to avoid and control emissions
- Check the technical guidance
At Hawksafe we can advise you on the completion of a management system and devise a risk assessment for the activities you are seeking a permit for. We also can assist you with the completion of a variety of other essential Health & Safety documents.
Is my business activity covered by an exemption?
As well as an RPS, some activities are exempt from waste permits. Waste exemptions (except T11 WEE) can be registered for free, registrations last for three years.
You must follow the conditions and limits in your exemption, or the Environment Agency can cancel it.