B4.9.5 Environmental Permitting


The Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010 [SI No. 675] were created to standardise environmental permitting and compliance in England and Wales. Environmental permitting is a risk-based regime for regulating business activities that could have an impact on the environment or human health. Environmental permits are designed to reduce and simplify the administration of industrial facilities and waste management operations.

Facilities that require an Environmental Permit

There are seven classes of regulated facility:

  • An installation (where activities listed in Schedule 1 to the Regulations, and any directly associated activities are carried on).
  • Mobile plant (used to carry on either one of the Schedule 1 activities or a waste operation).
  • A waste operation.
  • A mining waste operation.
  • A radioactive substances activity.
  • A water discharge activity.
  • A groundwater activity.


If your business activities are covered by the permitting regime, you must apply to the Environment Agency for an environmental permit or register a waste exemption. The Environment Agency and local councils enforce the regulations in England and Wales.

Old permits now covered by environmental permitting When they became covered by environmental permitting
Pollution prevention and control (PPC) permits 6 April 2008
Waste management licences (WML) 6 April 2008
Water discharge consents 6 April 2010
Groundwater permits 6 April 2010
Radioactive substances registrations and authorisations 6 April 2010



Some facilities that pose a sufficiently low risk can be exempt from the need to hold a permit. However this is only where any applicable European Directive allows it. A waste operation, water discharge or groundwater activity must meet certain criteria in order to be exempt from the need for an Environmental Permit. This is set out in the Regulations.