Environment Agency consults on permitting charges
The Environment Agency is consulting on changes to the way it issues permits, with a plan to levy charges on sites which require more regulatory effort.
As part of the changes – which would come into force on 1 April 2018 – the Agency is proposing to introduce supplementary charges when issuing a permit requires additional assessments.
The consultation, which runs until 12 January, covers a range of regulations including the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2016, and the Waste and Electrical Equipment Regulations 2013.
According to the Agency, businesses that are “well-managed” and “low-hazard” present a low environmental risk and would be charged less. Higher-risk or poor-performing businesses would be charged more.
Under the proposals being consulted on, the Agency would levy additional supplementary charges for only those applications that involve more “complex considerations”.
According to the Agency, these include: “Sensitive locations assessment for sites designated under the Habitats Directive, or Fire Prevention Plans where the waste types and activities covered by the application would lead us to believe there is a risk of waste fires”.
This would mean a charge of £1,231 for each new, varied or revised waste recovery plan (WRP) if an application is for the permanent disposal of waste on land as a recovery activity.
And, a fixed charge of £1,246 for either an Odour Management Plan (OMP) or a Noise Management Plan (NMP) a fixed charge of £1,246. An additional Fire Prevention Plan would also be charged at £1,241.Regulation
“Regulating business costs the taxpayer money, but under proposals laid out in the Strategic Review of Charges, the burden on the public purse would be significantly reduced,” the Agency said. “The proposed changes will mean that businesses pay for the full services they use rather than the public – a more financially-sustainable model that will lead to long-term environmental improvements.”
The review involved a 12 month period of engagement with businesses and trade associations. There have been very limited changes to business charges since 2011, with costs kept below inflation (CPI).
If the new charges are implemented, the Agency said it will also be able to invest more in its permitting service, which is ‘vital’ to improve the standards of the waste industry.
Commenting on the proposals, Neil Davies, Environment Agency director of regulated services, said: “Our work to regulate industry protects and enhances the environment. The proposed changes will mean that businesses pay for the full services they use rather than the public. This is more financially-sustainable, will lead to a better service to businesses and long-term improvements to the environment.”
“We have been engaging with trade associations over the last year while we were developing these proposals. Their input into this process has been really valuable and I urge them to take part in the consultation.”