Environmental permits, information and damage

This cross-cutting theme is now closed for comments.

You can read comments made since the start of the Red Tape Challenge in April 2011 below.

You can also still submit comments to the Red Tape Challenge inbox by clicking here.

The environmental permitting regulations set the operating conditions for businesses through a permitting framework. Its risk based approach includes a hierarchy of permits from those that are tailor made for larger, more risky operations to simple registrations and exemptions from permitting for less risky operations. Permitting operations include industrial installations, mobile plant waste and extractive waste, those discharging to water and/or groundwater and radioactive substances activities.

The environmental information regulations aim to involve the public in environmental matters by giving them the right of access to environmental information held by public authorities.

The environmental damage regulations oblige operators to take steps to prevent serious environmental damage from occurring or, where it does occur, to make good such damage in line with the polluter pays principle.

You can find 3 regulations that relate to environmental permits, information and damage below to the left.

Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIRs)

Increase access to environmental information in order to increase public participation in environmental decision-making, inform debate, and increase awareness of environmental matters.

EU regulation

Read More… (opens in a new window)

Environmental Permitting Regulations 2010

The Regulations provide a risk based framework to control activities that could cause pollution.

 UK regulation

Read More… (opens in a new window)

Environmental Damage (Prevention and Remediation) Regulations 2009

The regulations place obligations on operators to make good serious cases of damage to the environment, transposing the provisions of the EU Environmental Liability Directive.

 UK regulation

Read More… (opens in a new window)

Tell us what you think should happen to these regulations and why, being specific where possible:

For example, you might consider how the application process for permits could be further improved or the requirements for smaller businesses further simplified.

119 responses to Environmental permits, information and damage

  • Dave Dingle said on June 1, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    The Environmental Permitting Regulations allow The Env. Agency to produce charging schemes and determine the content of applications. This results in far too complicated Schemes and application requirements.

  • John Murray said on May 27, 2011 at 7:36 am

    I am surprised at how this legislation is preventing eg Environment Agency from exerting proper control on activities which affect the environment eg groundwater. This could be disastrous and should be reconsidered.

  • Tina Easterlow said on May 26, 2011 at 11:10 am

    EPCs are not relevant for holiday lettings – my agent can’t cope with supplying Access Statements let alone EP information and as all energy is included the holiday maker couldn’t care less about energy efficiency. Obviously, I will make my property as energy-efficient as I can to save myself money – I don’t need prompting by you. By the way, putting EPC into your search engine results in a not-found message!

  • Alex Brown said on May 24, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    As a regulator responsible for Environmental Damage Regulations, this new peice of legislation appears so far to be ineffectual not really fit for purpose. Various other regulations exist allowing regulators to rectify ‘environmental damage’ and any gaps (an EU requirements) would be better off plugging in exisiting water / contaminated land legislation than keeping these Regs.

  • Brian Richards said on May 20, 2011 at 10:09 am

    These should be left as they are since they are essential in ensuring that true sustainable development is realised and that we manage our impacts on the environment.

  • jon Lloyd said on May 19, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    I’ve just had an EPc carried out to comply with new regs. for holiday letting; what a farce, not the surveyors’ fault but the way the survey is carried out and calculations done make the results meaningless, all due to the fee, which for me is thankfully small, but I would rather give the money to the Red Cross and be given a worthless certificate.

  • Stephen Last said on May 18, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    I am commenting on my own behalf’ and CIWEM’s Policy Team will also send responses from CIWEM.

    I feel that the regulations need to be left as they are. Working in water and waste engineering I have been around long enough to remember how it used to be before these regulations and although I deplore bureaucracy, equally the effects of allowing relaxation would only be very short lived, before the costs and liabilities overtook the gains.

    We already have a huge environmental burden hidden below the ground from previous more relaxed practices. We simply cannot afford to go back. We have to look as these regulations as something the UK should rightly be proud of, and like the Germans before us, use the lead this body of regulations gives our environmental industries to develop to export world class environmental expertise in products and services. I can already see this happening, notably in the waste process and treatment industry, where before long our home grown technology will be beating the Europeans and the Brits will soon take back the lead and be selling Solid Waste Treatment Plants back to the Germans and Austrians who started in the lead only 5 years ago.

  • Mark Allen said on May 15, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    I feel that the regulations need to be left as they are. Any percieved bureaucracy is needed to ensure that the environment is protected from all environmental pollution , and that overall the ” polluter pays” .

    If so called red tape is cut then the environment is at risk from dangerous pollution and over exploitation.

    • Gareth Paxton said on May 9, 2012 at 12:34 pm

      sadly, as it stands the system is the payer pollutes.

      I have seen reps from the EA tell huge lies to the public in order to protect a large customer (polluter)

  • Phillip Sheard said on May 13, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    It is essentail that this peice of legislation The Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010 remains in place as it is important in reducing air, land and water pollution.

  • Rebecca Brisland said on May 13, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    I think current regulations are efficient, with regards to batteries, WEEE and packaging. I deal with 2 of these myself in the workplace and think that the reg’s can happily stay as they are.
    The fact compliance starts at a certain tonnage is fair, as smaller business’s couldnt afford it- costs are quite high for WEEE submissions. We produce under 1 tonne of batteries per year so it’s a simple £30 registration fee with the environment agency, and a report for each once a year. Easy!

  • GK said on May 13, 2011 at 9:58 am

    The 2008 Climate Change Act is a ground breaking and world-leading piece of legislation that will go down in history as a significant milestone on the route to a lower carbon and safer world. It should be left as it is, or indeed, updated to keep it in line with the latest scientific recommendations. Getting rid of it or watering it down would be not only a significant step in the wrong direction, but would undermine the legacy of the document and the position of the UK as a progressive nation.

  • Alastair McKie said on May 13, 2011 at 9:21 am

    I feel that the regulations need to be left as they are. Any percieved bureaucracy is needed to ensure that the environment is protected from all environmental pollution , and that overall the ” polluter pays” .

    If so called red tape is cut then the environment is at risk from dangerous pollution and over exploitation.

  • Jill Jones said on May 12, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    It needs be operated more consistently, efficiently and quickly by the Agency. The legislation is essential and should remain in place for the regulation of companies, processes and their emissions to the Environment

  • Philippa Russell said on May 12, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Bureaucracy for the sake of bureaucracy is not healthy and ways to simplify or align regulations should be explored. However, this must not be at the expense of the environment. We must not sacrifice the protection measures we already have but work towards improving this for a sustainable future.

  • Charlie Hogg said on May 12, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Controls on environmental emmissions are very important. I want to keep the environment pleasant even if it seems inconvenient to our commercial activities.

    These legislation will certainly to be ammended and improved. The environment is a very complex thing though, and changing legislation quickly for short term political ends would be a disaster. Careful political and scientific research and implimentation is required to ensure that ammendments are successful and supportive of business in the long term.

  • Charles Tucker said on May 12, 2011 at 11:19 am

    The concept of proposing the mass repeal of existing legislation and regulation under the “cutting red tape” initiative appears to place populism before responsible environmental regulation. The legislation and regulations have evolved over many years to address specific purposes and prevent environmental harm. There may well be problems with particular details, but the way way the invitation to comment is made is to invite companies and corporations with a particular axe to grind to propose the repeal of restrictions which affect their interests but protect the public and our environment.

    The suggestion that the default position will be to scrap any legislation under this programme unless a good case is made to keep it is truly to abandon government responsibility to protect the environment.

    Members of the public expect government to stick to its pledge to be the Greenest Government ever. They rely on Parliament to defend their interests.

    The Environmental Information Regulations are an essential safeguard enabling the public to discover details of activities carried out that impact on the environment. They give confidence in the regulatory regime and prevent the perception of secrecy. Abolishing this means to ensure openness will destroy government’s claims to operate in an open and transparent way.

    Any proposals for the repeal of regulations should be debated as fully and carefully as the original regulation, which should lead to constructive revision rather than repeal. If the government insists on wholesale repeal, the beneficiaries will be the companies with large cheque books. The losers will be everyone else.

  • Tracey Pollard said on May 12, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Continually using these regulations throughout my day in my job I would like to state that as protection for the environment I consider these to be highly important to ensure that the environment is safe from pollution now and in the future. We cannot pass on a dead world that has been exploited and polluted to the next generationwith the knowledge that we removed legislation to stop this happening.

    The point of the legislation is to protect the environment – changing or scrapping it would simply make it easier for businesses to find loopholes in the system and be able to carry on regardless of their responsibility to the environment.

  • Robert Millar said on May 12, 2011 at 10:13 am

    The current Environmental Permitting Regime is new and will need time to bed and thus at present appears to be weighty & combersome, but the EA are simplifying it in terms RPS for the Construiction Sector as I write, but with out these regulations our Construction industry will continue to use and abuse our commen Environment un checked. The legislation has been developed overtime so as to prevent actual abuses which cause our island & global problems. To propose scrapping them at a time when the whole life-support balance of the planet is under threat shows a reckless disregard for the responsibilities of sound government.

  • james potter said on May 12, 2011 at 10:05 am

    removing the pemritting regulations and thus the requirement for landfills / waste disposal operations to be permitted will mark a reutrn to the bad old days of pre Control of pollution act 1974 when waste disposail was unregulated and caused harm and pollution to controlled waters and humans ( landfill gas – Roscoe explosion for example). this uncontrolled disposal led to the need for contaminated land clean up – Contaminated Land regs -to remediate the land. almost all the sites i deal with are old landfills which were pre 1974 or pre 1994 waste management licensing regs – as pre 1994 the old 1974 landfills could just hand back licences. Landills / waste disposal operations need permits to ensure safe operation, operational monitoring is undertaken and post closure monitoring is undertaken before the permit can be handed back

  • Jane Burch said on May 12, 2011 at 9:35 am

    Like so many other issues, there is very little wrong with the legislation itself, which as many have already pointed out, was developed for a specific purpose. The problems arise with over-zealous application which is out of proportion to the risk. This is particularly apparent to many small businesses, where the risks are minimal, who have to ‘jump through the same hoops’ to gain permits as a huge multi-national business would have to do.
    Many of the regulations/permits need to have de mimimus levels applied.

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