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Standard permitting to bring flexibility to regulation

Streamlining regulation within the waste sector is the catalyst behind the Environment Agency's new Standard Permitting scheme. The Environment Agency is calling for comments on whether the proposed Standard Permits correctly identify the risks associated with a range of waste management activities. These permits will provide operators with quicker, easier and more cost-effective regulation whilst maintaining current environmental standards;
freeing up resources to deal with the riskiest operators.

“The new Environmental Permitting system is in keeping with our role as a modern, flexible regulator – encouraging operators to protect the environment, taking tough action on those who don't, and rewarding those who do by freeing them up from regulation and helping them reduce costs,” said Environment Agency Director of Environment Protection Tricia Henton.

Under the proposed system, Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC) and Waste
Management Licensing (WML) will be streamlined into the one regime – Environmental Permitting. This will create a common approach to permit applications, maintenance, compliance, surrender and enforcement. The introduction of cheaper standard permits from April 2008 will further streamline regulation.

“Standard rules define how an operator must carry out an activity, for example by limiting the types of waste that can be brought onto site. If an operator wishes to carry out a certain activity, and can meet the standard rules, then they can apply for a standard permit. This will be cheaper and quicker than applying for bespoke permits – which require more detailed assessment – freeing up Environment Agency resources to target more risky operators and reducing the administrative burden on low-risk businesses.”

This first consultation covers 28 low to medium risk operations that currently
require a waste management licence, such as waste transfer stations, compost sites, civic amenity sites and mobile remediation plants. It offers a real opportunity for operators to share their views on whether the Environment Agency have correctly identified all of the risks associated with each operation and the appropriate sets of rules to manage those risks.

The 28 waste management activities for this consultation, include:

Household, commercial, industrial and asbestos waste transfer station

Materials and Metals recycling facilities

Sewage sludge treatment
Clinical waste and healthcare waste transfer station

Mechanical biological treatment
Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment (WEEE) treatment facility

Views are being sought in particular from business and trade associations on the
proposed Standard Rules and Guidance for the introduction of the Environmental Permitting Regulations. The consultation can be found at www.environment-
agency.gov.uk . We will publish a summary of responses and the finalised documents before the regulations come into force in April 2008.

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