Environmental Permitting Consultancy
An environmental permit allows you to carry out certain activities that may be deemed to have an impact on either environment or human health. At Sweco we provide environmental advice and support across all phases of the project lifecycle and across a broad range of industrial facilities, with clients benefiting from an environmental protection and compliance led approach.
What is Environmental Permitting?
An environmental permit is a document that allows you to carry out certain activities that could affect the environment or human health.
Depending on the type and scale of your activity, you may need to apply for a permit from the government or your local council. The requirement for an environmental permit is enshrined into UK law by the Environmental Permitting Regulations in England, Wales Northern Ireland and the Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC) Regulations in Scotland. You are breaking the law if you operate without a permit when you should have one.
Some examples of activities that may require an environmental permit are:
- operating an industrial facility;
- using, recycling, treating, storing or disposing of waste or mining waste;
- burning waste or operating a medium combustion plant or a small waste incineration plant;
- releasing organic solvents into the air;
- doing work in, under, over or near a main river, a flood defence, or a sea defence;
- using radioactive substances
An environmental permit is different from a planning consent. Unlike a planning consent, an environmental permit does not apply to the land on which an operation takes place – instead it relates to the activity itself.
The environmental permit contains conditions: these are the requirements which the operation must meet in order to keep pollution and environmental harm to a minimum. Depending on the activity, the permit conditions will cover areas as diverse as:
- abatement equipment such as scrubbers to prevent or mitigate air pollution;
- operating temperature of incinerators;
- efficiency of effluent treatment plant;
- limits on the concentration of contaminants in discharges to the environment;
- limitations on the amount of waste or dangerous substances to be stored on site;
- limitations on the scale of the activity;
- safe storage of chemicals or radioactive substances;
- measures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions;
- noise abatement measures;
- monitoring requirements;
- environmental management systems.
There are two categories of environmental permit:
- standard rules permits, for simpler activities;
- bespoke permits, for the most complex and potentially polluting operations.
More on Environmental Permits
Standard rules permits come with a set of ready-made conditions which the permit holder must comply with. A bespoke permit is specific to your operation, and will involve submitting a detailed application to the regulator.
An environmental permit is not required for many small scale operations. While still subject to the Environmental Permitting regime, specified activities can register an exemption rather than applying for a permit.
All the exemptions have conditions, mainly relating to the scale of the activity, eg the amount of waste which you can store on site at any one time. There may be a requirement that waste or hazardous materials are stored on hard standing or under cover.
Some of these exemptions are under review and are likely to be tightened up fairly soon. This is because they have been abused by waste criminals, or the activities are now viewed as a greater risk to the environment.
If your activity is listed as exempt from environmental permitting, all you need to do is register it with the regulator (the Environment Agency in England, Natural Resources Wales, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency or the Northern Ireland Environment Agency). Registration is free of charge.
Do I need an Environmental Permitting Consultant?
The environmental permitting regime is complex and can be confusing to those without experience of the system. Successfully navigating the permitting process requires detailed knowledge of the relevant legislation, the extensive technical guidance documents and strong working links with the regulatory bodies.
Environmental permitting consultants are specialist professionals that have in depth knowledge and experience of the law surrounding environmental permitting and support client organisations in maintaining legal compliance with the permitting regime. They are able to provide detailed advice on all aspects of the regulatory regime and will normally be involved in preparing permit applications, operational variations and surrenders. They will also assist with expert input to maintaining compliance with permit conditions and trouble shooting, providing specialist on site environmental monitoring services and preparing the required monitoring reports for submission the regulating body.
Our Environmental Permitting services
We provide environmental advice and support across all phases of the project lifecycle and across a broad range of industrial facilities. Our approach is focused on environmental protection and compliance led – we want to ensure that our clients operate their facilities in a way that protects our natural capital and ensures that they are acting within the law at all times.
Across the wider Environmental Resource Management landscape, we work pragmatically and collaboratively with the regulators and our clients to ensure that the approach to regulation is appropriate and effective without incurring undue or unnecessary burden.
- Pre-application advice and regulatory liaison.
- Preparation if permit application for Standards Rules and Bespoke permits.
- Preparation supporting documentation, drawings and risk assessments.
- Permit compliance and trouble shooting.
- Environmental monitoring and reporting.
- Permit variation applications and associated supporting documents, drawings and risk assessments.
- Permit surrender applications and associated documents, drawings and risk assessments.
- Geo-advisory services including ground investigation, contamination assessment and remediation and hydrogeological assessment.
- Environmental due diligence and risk appraisal and management.
We want to ensure that our clients operate their facilities in a way that protects our natural capital and ensures that they are acting within the law at all times. We work pragmatically and collaboratively with the regulators and our clients to ensure that the approach to regulation is appropriate and effective without incurring undue or unnecessary burden.
Neil Riding Team Manager – Resource Management