If your business can cause air pollution (smoke, dust or solvent fumes) or affect the environment (water or land contamination) then you need an Environmental Permit. This is a requirement of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2012. The permit will put strict limits on the pollution your business can make, both at your premises or from any mobile plant. Pollution prevention methods will be required.
Do I need an environmental permit?
Part A1 Permits (Environment Agency Regulated)
Part A2 Permits (Local Authority Regulated)
Part B Permits (Local Authority Regulated)
How to apply for an environmental permit
- you must apply in writing, giving specific information about your business and any pollution and you must pay a fee
- you can apply online - download the forms. Fill in the application form and attach any extra information
- you can apply by post – you complete the application form, enclose the correct fee and post it back to us at the address given on the form. To obtain the form, you can either download the application form opposite or contact Scientific services and we will post the form to you.
What is the application fee?
The fees are set by central government. They change every year and vary from one type of business to another. Check the Government’s current fee schedule.
How does the council deal with your application?
The whole process of getting a permit is governed by legislation. The government's General Guidance Manual covers the whole Environmental Permitting process. It gives a good overview of what you can expect from council officers.
Once the council has received your application, it needs to ensure that all appropriate pollution prevention methods are taken, particularly through best available techniques and that no significant pollution is caused. We will need you to provide information about your pollution control equipment, methods and working practices. We will usually send a Scientific Officer to check your premises.
The council may need to advertise your application to the wider community, to allow local residents to comment. The council may also need to consult other agencies - such as the local Primary Care Trust, adjoining local authorities or the Petroleum Inspectorate. What we have to do depends largely on the nature of your business. The council must consider any comments made in relation to your application.
If we intend to attach an off-site condition to your permit we will provide notice to you, or the owner, lessee or occupier of the land. Although much of the content of any permit is set down in Government guidance, you will always be given the opportunity to comment on permit conditions. The council likes to work with businesses to ensure that permits reflect real working practices and only impose essential pollution controls.
Timescales for your application
Once your application is ‘duly made’ (there is no missing information and you have paid the correct fee), the legislation gives the council four (4) months to process your application and (3) months if an application for dry cleaners or waste oil burners.
If you have not received your permit within that timescale, then the legislation allows you to assume it has been refused and you can appeal (see below). Note that it is in the public interest that the council must process your application before it can be granted (there is no tacit consent for Environmental Permits). If you have made an application for a permit you can contact us or use the contact details below at any time during the application process – we are always very happy to help applicants or to answer questions.
What if my application is refused?
You should be clearly informed why your application has been refused. If you are not clear on this, then contact us. If you want to challenge this decision, then the council has an internal complaints procedure, and you would be advised to use that first. Please contact us and say that you want your complaint dealt with by a senior manager. Please note that you do not have to use our internal procedure; you can go straight to the legal appeal.
In addition to (or instead of) our internal complaints procedure, you have the legal right to appeal against a decision to the Planning Inspectorate. Appeals must be made in writing and give grounds for your appeal. The appeal time will vary dependent upon the type of appeal, but an appeal against a failed application must be made within six months of the decision.
What if you don’t agree with conditions in your permit?
You should have been able to comment on conditions when your permit was being written. If you still don’t agree with what the permit imposes on your business, then the council has an internal complaints procedure, and you would be advised to use that first. Please contact us and say that you want your complaint dealt with by the lead permitting officer. Please note that you do not have to use our internal procedure – you can go straight to the legal appeal.
In addition to (or instead of) our internal complaints procedure, you have the legal right to appeal against a decision to the Secretary of State. Appeals must be made in writing and given grounds for your appeal. The appeal time will vary dependent upon the type of appeal, but an appeal against a condition must be made within six months of the decision.
What do businesses have to do once they have an environmental permit?
You must comply with any conditions attached to a permit. Your business will be regularly inspected to make sure you are complying. Failure to comply may lead to enforcement action. You have to pay an annual fee to keep your permit.
Complaints from the public or from other businesses
The public may complain to the council about pollution from a business, or they may inform the council about polluting activities. Environmental Health Officers will investigate and if permit conditions are being broken, enforcement action may follow. Businesses may also complain about pollution, or may bring polluting activities to the attention of the council. This will be investigated and enforcement action taken if necessary.
2 Bristol Avenue
Tel: 020 8359 7995