PROjEN INFORMATION CENTRE

Pollution Prevention and Control

What is the Environmental Permitting Programme (EPP)?

The Environmental Permitting Programme (EPP) is a single simplified modern permitting and compliance system developed by Defra, the Environment Agency and the Welsh Assembly and is part of a major initiative to simplify and reduce the costs of licensing activities.

Within the programme, the Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC) permitting and Waste Management Licensing (WML) procedures have been combined into one system and operates under the Environmental Permitting Programme (EPP) Regulations.

The Environmental Permitting Programme Regulations came into force in April 2008. Existing Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC) Licenses and Waste Management Licenses (WML’s) automatically became ‘environmental permits’. Outstanding permit applications do not automatically become ‘environmental permits’ unless the requirements of the existing application have been seen to be met.

In view of the changes that the Environmental Permitting Programme (EPP) brings; companies with existing PPC permits or WML will not see immediate changes in what they have to do, however new applications will need to follow the new regulations.

It is, however, worth noting that the Environmental Permitting Programme (EPP) is yet to apply in Scotland and Northern Ireland, although PPC and WML do.

What is PPC?

The Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC) regulations operate within England and Wales and implement the requirements of The European Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) directive. The purpose of the Directive is to ensure a high level of protection of the environment taken as a whole.

The overall stated purpose of Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) is to:

  • Prevent/reduce emissions (to air, land & water)
  • Prevent/reduce noise, odour & vibration
  • Prevent/reduce waste
  • Prevent/reduce environmental accidents
  • Site remediation
  • Conserve Energy

Within England and Wales, the requirements of directive have been achieved since October 2007 by issuing permits via the Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC) regulations and these same requirements will have to be met under the Environmental Permitting Programme (EPP).

The Pollution Prevention and Control section of the regulations employ an integrated approach to control the environmental impacts of certain industrial activities. It involves determining the appropriate controls for industry to protect the environment. Industrial sources in both England and Wales are regulated according to the PPC standards.

There are also similar regulations in Scotland and Northern Ireland and these are known as The Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations 2000 (SSI 2000/323) (the PPC Regulations) and The Pollution Prevention and Control Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2003.

How do you obtain an Environmental Permit?

In order to fulfill the Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC) requirements for the Environmental Permit (EP), the operator of a site must be able to demonstrate that they have methodically developed plans to minimize the environmental impact of their activities. Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) insist that these are in line and apply to the "Best Available Techniques" (BAT) and comply with specific requirements, taking local factors into account.

For existing installations, the Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC) permits deadline was October 2007. Subsequent permits are issued for all new installations and existing installations undergoing a substantial change (where the change may have a significant negative effect on human beings or the environment). These requirements do not change under the Environmental Permitting Programme (EPP) Regulations.

Application requirements

The operator of an installation will need to prepare a forward plan to deliver the elements of Environmental Permitting Programme (EPP) Regulations, at a suitable cost and in a timely fashion. The preparation of the application can be considered as a number of discrete 'parcels of work' that can be stitched together to satisfy the requirements of the legislation and the regulators.

These 'parcels of work' for the Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC) relevant areas involve a number of topics such as:

  • Demonstrating a satisfactory Environmental Management System (EMS), including critical control systems and procedures.
  • Justification of Best Available Techniques (BAT) at the installation, using site specific criteria and cost benefit analysis.
  • A full understanding of pollutant releases from the installations and environmental impact assessments of the releases (for example, chemical pollutants, noise etc).
  • A site condition report.
  • Energy, water & waste minimisation audits and recommendations.
  • A raw materials conservation study.

For Waste Management Licensing (WML) relevant areas involve such topics as:

  • Does the facility contain a waste operation.
  • Is it an exempt waste operation and hence not a regulated facility.
  • Is it the waste operation excluded from the definition of waste operations
  • Does the waste operation involve hazardous or non-hazardous waste.
  • Is the waste operation a disposal or recovery operation?

The steps you will need to take-

Application for permit: To establish your companies baseline data for emissions to air, land and water. This must also include, where appropriate, noise, odour and vibration reports. A Site Condition report must also be provided together with a report on energy and water usage. The completed application should be submitted to the Environment Agency and Local authority respectively.

Emissions Reduction Plan: An action plan must be submitted using the detailed data established in the application. This is in order to reduce emissions and minimise waste to continuous environmental improvement in line with the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) regulations.

Monitoring: An effective monitoring system must be established to ensure compliance with the Emissions Reduction Plan. This would include establishing a Group Environmental Forum and regular review audits to drive the campaign and ensure adherence to the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) Regulations.

Changes from Integrated Pollution Control (IPC) to Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC)

The Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) Directive came into English law through the Pollution Prevention and Control (England and Wales) Regulations on 1st August 2000 and implements the EC Directive 96/61 on Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control ( IPPC) and is still adhered to via the Environmental Permitting Programme ( EPP) Regulations.

The Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) takes a broader spectrum of environmental impacts into its regulations than Integrated Pollution Control (IPC). At present, the system of Integrated Pollution Control (IPC) regulates emissions to land, water and air. In conjunction with the original Integrated Pollution Control (IPC) regulations the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) regime will also include; waste avoidance or minimisation, accident avoidance, minimisation of noise, heat and vibrations and energy efficiency. Ultimately, the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control’s (IPPC’s) new aims will a higher level of protection than the original Integrated Pollution Control (IPC) standards.

The Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) apply to a wider range of industries than the Integrated Pollution Control (IPC). These industries include all installations that are currently regulated under Integrated Pollution Control (IPC), some installations currently under the Local Air Pollution Control (LAPC), and some installations that are not currently under either regime such as: landfill sites, intensive agriculture, large pig and poultry units, and food and drink manufacturers.

Under Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) regulated industries they are referred to as 'installations' as oppose to 'processes' which is the term used for Integrated Pollution Control (IPC). This change in terminology enables a more integrated approach to regulation; a whole installation must be permitted rather than just individual processes within the installation.

Once issued, permits for Integrated Pollution Prevention Control (IPPC) are to be reviewed periodically in addition to any updating which is made necessary by technological or other changes.

What Changed from Integrated Pollution Control (IPC) to Pollution Prevention Control (PPC) due to the European Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) Directive?

The Integrated Pollution Control (IPC) systems for preventing and controlling emissions came under Part 1 of the Environment Protection Act (EPA) and were;

  • Integrated Pollution Control (IPC): This existed for the most potentially polluting industries and was enforced by the Environment Agency (EA)
  • Local Air Pollution Control (LAPC): Regulated the less polluting industries and was enforced by Local Authorities and concerned emissions to air only.
  • Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC): Was the new UK regime that replaced the previous Integrated Pollution Control ( IPC) legislation.
  • Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) embodies an approach broadly similar to Integrated Pollution Control (IPC) but takes on a wider view of integrated permitting.
  • The Local Air Pollution Control (LAPC) regime was replaced by Local Air Pollution Prevention and Control (LAPPC) which is similar to the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control ( IPPC) in procedures but still regulates emissions to air only. Both the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control ( IPPC) and the Local Air Pollution Prevention and Control ( LAPPC) fell under the same regulatory framework of Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC).

Operators of installations under the Environmental Permitting Programme (EPP) have to apply for a permit from the Regulator (the Environment Agency or Local Authority) prior to operation. The applicant must consider all the environmental impacts associated with the installation when preparing the application.

A copy of the application must be placed on a public register, held in the local office of the Environment Agency and the Local Authority, which the public is free to view.

Applications for permits have to undergo a public consultation; the operator is required to advertise the application in one or more local papers and in the London Gazette. Statutory Consultees and the public are required to submit their comments during the consultation process.

Once the consultation period is over the Regulator considers all the representations reviewed and will either grant the permit subject to conditions or reject the application. If an operator is dissatisfied with a decision made regarding an application, an appeal to the Secretary of State can be made.

If a permit is granted, the Regulator must ensure that the following general principles are met:

  • All appropriate preventative measures are taken against pollution, in particular through application of Best Available Techniques
  • No significant pollution is caused.
  • Waste production is avoided and where waste is produced, it is recovered. Where that is not possible it is disposed of in a way producing the least impact on the environment, if any impact is produced at all and may be controlled be a Waste Management License (WML).
  • Energy is used efficiently.
  • Measures are taken to avoid accidents and limit their consequences.
  • Necessary measures are taken on the closure of an installation to avoid any pollution risk and return the site to a satisfactory condition.

Once a permit has been granted, under the Environmental Permitting Programme (EPP) , operators have significant responsibility for monitoring emissions and supplying the Regulator with data required to check compliance with the permit. The Regulator has to undertake independent monitoring and inspections of the installation to check compliance with the set emission limits.

Specific conditions may apply to individual installations that the regulator considers appropriate to ensure a high level of protection to the environment as a whole. If the regulator believes that the operator is breaching the conditions of a permit, enforcement options are available where: enforcement, suspension or a revocation notice can be served.

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