The following information regards the use of environmental permitting in Northumberland.
Local authority pollution prevention control
Local Authorities regulate emissions to air from certain prescribed processes under The Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016, a responsibility initially introduced by The Pollution Prevention Act 1999.
The Council issues an environmental permit to the business operating the process, which contains conditions on how the business must be operated and control any emissions to air.
You must have an environmental permit if you operate a regulated facility in England or Wales. It is illegal to operate a prescribed process where an environmental permit would normally be required.
A regulated facility includes Part A(2) and Part B installations that are regulated by the Local Authority and Part A(1) installations that are regulated by the Environment Agency.
Installations regulated by the local authority
As a Local Authority, Northumberland County Council regulate Part A(2) and Part B installations, which are:
- Installations or mobile plant carrying out listed activities
Part A(2) and B regulated facilities include:
- Animal and Vegetable Processing – some food processing activities including rendering
- Combustion and Incineration – boiler, furnaces and gas turbine producing 20-50Mw thermal output, crematoria, incineration of waste, animal carcass incineration etc.
- Minerals – quarrying / surface coal mines, roadstone coating, storage of bulk cement, mobile crushing and screening, heavy clay and refractory products, manufacture of timber and wood products etc.
- Metals - foundries, processing and treatment of metals, galvanising etc.
- Organic Chemicals – fibre reinforced plastics
- Petroleum and Powder Coating - unloading of petrol into storage, and motor vehicle refuelling, at service stations, manufacture of coating powder, bitumen and tar processes etc..
- Solvents – coating of metals and plastics, respraying of road vehicles, rubber processes, printing flexible packaging, chemical treatment of wood, dry cleaning etc.
Further detailed descriptions of the listed activities can be found in Schedule 1 of The Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016
Part A(1) and A(2) permits control activities with a range of environmental impacts, including:
- Emissions to air, land and water
- Energy efficiency
- Waste reduction
- Raw materials consumption
- Noise, vibration and heat
- Accident prevention
Part B permits control activities which cause emissions to air.
Why permits are required
Where a prescribed process operates within the bounds of the relevant guidance note then it is required by law to have an environmental permit issued by either the Local Authority of the Environment Agency.
How to apply for an environmental permit
If you require a permit from Northumberland County Council, you are advised to contact the Environmental Protection Team for an informal discussion before completing any application forms:
contacting us here
The permit your business requires depends on the specific processes involved and resulting emissions.
Permits for Part A(2) and B installations are issued by us. You can apply online or you can contact us and we will send you an application form.
Permits for Part A(1) installations are available from the Gov.uk: apply for an environmental permit. The A1 activities for which the Environment Agency is responsible for regulating are detailed in Schedule 1 of the Environmental Protection (England and Wales) Regulations 2010 (As Amended) for issuing permits for the following activities:
- Waste operations carried out at Part B installations
- Waste operations or waste mobile plant carried on other than at an installation, or by Part A or Part B mobile plants.
- Mining waste operations
You can apply online through the government Business Link website for a permit:
The application must be made by the operator of the regulated facility. For waste operations no licence will be granted unless any required planning permission has first been granted.
Fees set annually by DEFRA for applying for a permit, transfer or surrender, substantial change and annual subsistence.
Annual subsistence fees are required to maintain the permit, regulate the facility and general regulatory involvement. These are payable on an annual basis from 1 April each year. You will be sent an invoice for this once you have been issued a permit.
Subsistence fees become due when the permit is issued and will be pro-rata in the first year. For example, if your permit is issued in January, the subsistence fee will only be payable for the months of February and March and will be reduced accordingly.
If an operator is found without a permit then an application for a prescribed process operating without a permit will face an additional charge of £1,137 or £69 for a reduced fee activity.
The application forms require that you provide detailed information regarding your activities. Please ensure that this is given in sufficient detail. Where indicated on the form, it is acceptable for the information needed to be attached to your application as separate documents. If you choose to do this, you must ensure that the attachments and application form are clearly referenced.
Please note, that with all types of application, certain information is to be supplied as separate attachments as a matter of course. This information generally relates to any relevant additional information, site maps and plans etc..
Application evaluation process
We will pay regard to the protection of the environment taken as a whole by, in particular, preventing or, where that is not practicable, reducing emissions into the air, water and land.
We may inform the public of the application and must consider any representations.
We must be satisfied that the application is from the operator of the regulated facility and that the installation will be operated in accordance with the environmental permit.
If we need information from you that has not been provided, we will contact you to let you know. If this information is not then given to us within a reasonable time, the application will be deemed to be withdrawn. In such circumstances, the application fee will be returned to you along with any non-electronic documents you have given us.
Implied granting of permit ('tacit consent')
It is in the public interest that we process your application before it can be granted. This means that you cannot assume your permit is granted just because you have not heard from us. Please contact us if you have not heard from us within 14 days of your application being submitted.
We aim to process an application (in terms of ensuring it is duly made) within 14 days of receipt. We aim to issue your permit(s) as soon as practically possible but in any case, within three or four months of a correctly made application (depending on type).
Failed application redress
Please contact us in the first instance.
An applicant who is refused an environmental permit may appeal to the Secretary of State. Appeals must be lodged no later than six months from the date of our decision. Completed appeals should be made to:
Environment Appeals Team
The Planning Inspectorate
Room 3/25 Hawk Wing
Temple Quay House
2 The Square
Tel: 0303 444 5584
Appeal documents can be downloaded from:
Permit holder redress
We request that you contact us with any grievance concerning your permit.
If an application to vary, transfer or surrender an environmental permit has been refused or if the applicant objects to conditions imposed on the environmental permit they may appeal to the Secretary of State.
Appeals must be lodged in relation to a regulator initiated variation, a suspension notice or an enforcement notice, not later than two months from the date of the variation or notice and in any other case not later than six months from the date of the decision.
Inspection of permitted processes
Once permitted, an installation or process requires regular inspection by officers from the Environmental Protection Team. The frequency of inspection partly depends upon the type of installation or process permitted but is also dependent upon the risk rating determined from the inspection.
An installation or process is rated as HIGH, MEDIUM or LOW depending upon the score it achieves against a pro-forma for that process.
The risk rating is mostly influenced by how well the operator of the installation or process complies with the conditions in the permit. The risk rating is determined at the time of the inspection and applies to the following year.
The risk rating may influence the amount of annual subsistence paid in the following year.
Annual subsistence fee
Once permitted, an annual subsistence fee is payable to offset the management of the permit, carry out inspections and reviews, writing & reporting the permitted processes in Northumberland.
You will be invoiced annually for this after the 1st April each year.
A list of the current fees and charges is available here
If eight unpaid weeks pass from the date the invoice is issued, there will be a late payment fee of £50.
Mothballing - declaration of reduced operation
For several years now, DEFRA have made provision for regulated facility which have a much reduced production. Where a prescribed processes has a threshold for requiring a permit and the business has fallen below that threshold but the operator wishes to retain their permit then they can apply to “mothball” their permit.
Where acceptance of an application for declaration of reduced operation has been granted by the Council, the operator of the regulated facility is entitled to a reduced annual subsistence charge of 40% of the full charge that is applicable for the financial year.
However where the declaration of reduced operation no longer applies within the first twelve months from when the application is received the company must retrospectively pay the full subsistence charge that would have been payable plus a £50 administration fee.
Enforcement - General
In order to achieve and maintain consistency, decisions about enforcement action will be taken having regard to the following legislation and guidance:
- The Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016
- DEFRA Environmental Permitting General Guidance Manual on Policy and Procedures for A2 and B Installations
- The Secretary of State’s Process Guidance Notes
- Regulators’ Compliance Code
- Code for Crown Prosecutors
- Northumberland County Council Enforcement Policy
Permitted facilities will be regulated through the regulations and the conditions contained within the permit for a facility.
Breaches of conditions, failure to comply with the permit and/or failure to pay relevant fees and charges will result in the following enforcement options:
- An increase in the risk rating of the facility resulting in an increase in the annual subsistence fee.
- A revocation or suspension of the permit making it illegal to operate the facility.
- Legal action should any infringement be so severe or there is a lack of co-operation with operator.
The Council will actively seek operators of unregulated activities in order to ensure compliance with the EP Regulations. The responsibility for having the necessary permits and licenses to legally operate a buisness rests entirely with the operator.
If the Council finds, of is made aware of, an operator of an installation that does not hold a valid environmental permit and is required to do so by the regulations, whether knowingly or not, then we will contact the operator and request they make an application for a permit.
All facilities which are operating without a permit will be required to pay an additional fee for operating without a permit as permitted within the fees and charges schedule when they apply for a permit,
The Council may request information by formal notice at any time to clarifiy whether any facility or process is operating in contravation of the regulations. If the operator refuses either to provide the requested information, or to apply for a permit, then the Council will refer the matter to the legal department for prosecution.
The submission of requested information or a permit application does not preclude the Council from taking additional formal action against the operator. If the unregulated installation is found to be causing harm to health or the environment then the Council will notify the operator that an offence has been committed. The operator will be requested to cease the operation until a permit application has been received from the operator and determined by the Council. If the operator fails to comply with section then the Council will refer the matter to the legal department for prosecution.
Related environmental permitting documents