Environment Agency Unveils New Permit Charging Scheme

The Environment Agency (EA) has published new charging schemes for regulatory permits and services, which will be effective from 1 April 2018.

The EA says the new charges have been introduced so that businesses and organisations “pay for the full cost of the services they receive” rather than the public – this represents a more financially-sustainable model which is simpler, fairer and more effective and that will lead to long-term environmental improvements, it says.

Charges for permits and other regulatory services have remained static for the last 7 years.

The initial proposals were drafted with feedback from industry and were subject to a public consultation. The consultation response document has also been published, which includes the changes we have made as a result of comments received from customers, trades associations and the public.

“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 the feedback has helped shape the new charging structure.”

The new charges reflect the amount of regulatory effort needed and will allow the EA to invest further in our permitting service, it says. Customers will see a “more efficient, transparent and consistent service”.

Businesses that are well-managed and low-hazard present a low environmental risk and will be charged less. Higher-risk or poor-performing businesses will be charged more. This is because of the regulatory effort needed to effectively regulate a site.

Neil Davies, Environment Agency Director of Regulatory Charges, said: “Our work to regulate industry protects and enhances the environment. The changes that have been announced following the recent consultation will mean that businesses and not the public pay for the full services they use. 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 the feedback has helped shape the new charging structure.”

The new charging scheme will commence 1 April 2018. There will be some notable changes implemented immediately including:

  • the approaches to the permitting process: simplifying charges, with everyone using the same charging framework; providing a new enhanced pre-application service; greater clarity on what the fee includes and allowing customers to choose more bespoke advice that they can pay for if they want to
  • the availability of a discretionary permit pre-application service,
  • access to a definition of waste service (from June 2018)
  • charging for work associated with issuing a suspension notice

In the waste sector, changes include:

  • The Hazardous Waste Treatment sector sees an overall decrease in charges.
  • The Non-hazardous waste sector overall income sees a slight overall reduction, however there is variation across the different permit categories
  • Increases for the Biowaste Treatment. This is a sector with many amenity issues. The larger facilities will see charges increasing by around 100%, while the smaller sites will see costs remain broadly the same.

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