The Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA), Part I, introduced the responsibility for Local Air Pollution Control (LAPC) to all local authorities in England and Wales. This Act and subsequent Regulations effectively created two lists (Part A and Part B) of industrial activities, which require a permit to operate.
Part A activities are the responsibility of the Environment Agency and controls relate to emissions to land, water and air. Part B activities are subject to control by local authorities and controls relate only to emissions to air. The aim of this system of authorising operators, with appropriate conditions, is to encourage the use of best available techniques not entailing excessive costs to reduce any emission to air that may have a harmful effect on human health or the environment.
The European Directive of 1996 on Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control was affected in the United Kingdom by the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999. Under this legislation, Part I of the EPA was repealed once all existing activities had been transferred to the new scheme as specified in the Pollution Prevention and Control (England and Wales) Regulations 2000 (as amended).
These regulations introduced new Part A1 and Part A2 categories. Activities within these A1 and A2 installations are controlled through a single permitting procedure designed to protect the environment. All emissions to air, water and land, together with a range of other environmental effects defined as emissions (e.g. noise and vibration), are considered together. Part A2 installations are regulated by local authorities in addition to their Part B responsibilities. For information on Part A1 installations, please contact the Environment Agency.
Part B installations remain subject to controls over emissions to air only.
The Environmental Permitting Regulations came into force on 6 April 2008. Since this date, all permits have been known as Environmental Permits.
Features of the Environmental Permitting Regulations
- Prescribed activities designated for local control must not be operated without a permit from the local enforcing authority in whose area they are located. Mobile plants must be permitted by the local enforcing authority in whose area the operator has its principle place of business.
- Operators of prescribed activities must submit a detailed application for permission to the enforcing body.
- Local authorities are statutorily obliged to include conditions in any permit they issue which are designed to ensure that the activity is operated using the Best Available Technology (BAT) to prevent and minimise emissions of prescribed substances and to render harmless any substance that may be emitted.
- In addition to any specific conditions included in a permit, all permissions implicitly impose a duty on the operator to use BAT in relation to any aspect of the activity that is not covered by the specific conditions.
- Secretary of State Process Guidance Notes (PGs) have been issued on all main categories of activity coming under local enforcing authority control.
- Operators can appeal against refusal of an application, against the conditions included in a permit, and against the various forms of notice that may be served by a local enforcing authority.
- Local authorities can issue enforcement, variation, suspension and revocation notices to ensure that appropriate standards of control are met, and raised in line with new techniques and new awareness of environmental risk. Suspension notices are a mechanism requiring steps to be taken to remove that risk where there is a risk of serious pollution.
- All applications for permits (except in relation to small waste oil burners and mobile plant and unloading of petrol into storage) must be advertised locally and full details (except information that is commercially confidential or would prejudice national security) must be made available so that the public can comment before the activity is permitted to start operation or to undergo a substantial change.
- Local authorities are obliged to levy fees and charges in accordance with a scheme prescribed by the Secretary of State. The scheme is reviewed annually.
- Local authorities have powers of entry, inspection, sampling, investigation and seizure of articles or substances which are a cause of imminent danger of serious harm.
For further information, please see the DEFRA guidance on Local Authority Pollution Control (LAPC).
Applying for a Permit
Visit gov.uk to apply for an environmental permit. The application needs to be submitted with the relevant fee.
You can also view guidance notes on the application process.