New permits to regulate waste

The Environment Agency is planning to introduce a more streamlined permit scheme to regulate waste management.

The proposed permits aim to provide operators with quicker, easier and more cost-effective regulation.

Environment Agency bosses are now carrying out consultations with a number of operators involved in activities such as recycling, sewage sludge treatment and clinical waste treatment.

Cheaper standard permits are set to be introduced which can be issued more quickly than bespoke permits, allowing Environment Agency staff to concentrate on higher risk sectors.

Tricia Henton, director of environment protection, said: "Standard rules define how an operator must carry out an activity, for example by limiting the types of waste that can be brought onto site.

"If an operator wishes to carry out a certain activity and can meet the standard rules, then they can apply for a standard permit.

"This will be cheaper and quicker than applying for bespoke permits, which require more detailed assessment, freeing up Environment Agency resources to target more risky operators and reducing the administrative burden on low-risk businesses."

Under the proposed system, pollution prevention and control and waste management licensing will be streamlined into one category under the heading Environmental Permitting.

Ms Henton added: "The new Environmental Permitting system is in keeping with our role as a modern, flexible regulator, encouraging operators to protect the environment, taking tough action on those who don't, and rewarding those who do by freeing them up from regulation and helping them reduce costs."

The new permits are set to come into force from April 2008.

Kate Martin



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