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Industrial pollution control

Under the Environmental Permitting Regulations (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 certain industrial processes with the potential to cause pollution must have a permit, either from the Environment Agency or the council.

A regulated facility under the regulations includes:

  • installations or mobile plants carrying out listed activities
  • waste operations
  • waste mobile plant
  • mining waste operations

Listed activities include:

  • energy - burning fuel, gasification, liquification and refining activities
  • metals - manufacturing and processing metals
  • minerals - manufacturing lime, cement, ceramics or glass
  • chemicals - manufacturing chemicals, pharmaceuticals or explosives, storing chemicals in bulk
  • waste - incinerating waste, operating landfill, recovering waste
  • solvents - using solvents
  • other examples are manufacturing paper, pulp and board, treating timber products, coating, treating textiles and printing, manufacturing new tyres, intensive pig and poultry farming.

Listed activities are divided into three categories:

  • Part A(1)
  • Part A(2)
  • Part B

Part A permits control activities with a range of environmental impacts, including:

  • emissions to air, land and water
  • energy efficiency
  • waste reduction
  • raw materials consumption
  • noise, vibration and heat
  • accident prevention

Part B permits control activities which cause emissions to air. The permit your business requires depends on the specific processes involved and the resulting emissions.

Permits are available from the Environment Agency or the council (the regulator) depending upon the category your business falls within:

  • Part A(1) installations or mobile plants are regulated by the Environment Agency
  • Part A(2) and Part B installations or mobile plants are regulated by the council, except waste operations carried out at Part B installations, which are regulated by the Environment Agency
  • waste operations or waste mobile plant operated other than at an installation or by Part A or Part B mobile plants, are regulated by the Environment Agency
  • mining waste operations are regulated by the Environment Agency

These permits are part of a system for controlling emissions to the atmosphere (as well as water and land for Part A processes) and contain conditions to limit these emissions using the best available technique (BAT). Medway Council's Environmental Health Service is responsible for writing permits, setting conditions that must be met and monitoring performance to ensure that the companies that operate such processes do so within the terms of their permits.

Eligibility criteria

Applications must be made on the form provided by the regulator or online and must include specified information which will vary depending on the operation. A fee may be payable.

If further information is required the applicant will be notified by the regulator and they must provide this information or the application will be deemed to be withdrawn.

The application must be from the operator of the regulated facility.

For waste operations, no licence will be granted unless any required planning permission has first been granted.

Application evaluation process

The regulator will consider the best way to protect the environment by preventing or where that is not practicable, reducing emissions to the air, water and land.

The regulator may inform the public of the application and must consider any representations.

The application must be from the operator of the regulated facility and the regulator must be satisfied that they are operating the facility in accordance with the environmental permit.

Will tacit consent apply?

No. It is in the public interest that the council must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard about your application within the 120-day target period, please contact it. You can do this by phoning 01634 333333.

Apply online

Failed application redress

Please contact the council in the first instance on 01634 333333. An applicant who is refused an environmental permit may appeal to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Appeals must be lodged no later than six months from the date of the decision.

Licence holder redress

Please contact the council in the first instance on 01634 333333. If an application to vary, transfer or surrender an environmental permit has been refused or if the applicant objects to conditions imposed on the environmental permit, they may appeal to the council as the appropriate authority.

Appeals must be lodged in relation to a regulator-initiated variation, a suspension notice or an enforcement notice, not later than two months from the date of the variation or notice and in any other case not later than six months from the date of the decision.

Consumer complaint

If you are a customer of an operator of processes such as those listed above, you should first contact the operator, preferably in writing, with proof of delivery. If that does not work and if you are located in the UK, Consumer Direct will give you advice. From outside the UK, contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

Other redress

Compensation maybe payable in relation to conditions affecting certain interests in land.

Public register

Medway has more than 60 prescribed processes, ranging from petrol stations to large manufacturing plants. You can download the Public Register of Industrial Processes (pdf 29KB).  To use this file you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do not have it on your computer, please use our advice page.

The Department for Environment and Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has issued a review of process guidance notes to councils for implementing these regulations.

The Solvent Emissions Directive (SED)

The SED is also enforced by the Environmental Permitting Regulations (England and Wales) Regulations 2016.

The aim of the SED is to prevent or reduce the effects of volatile organic compounds (also known as solvents or VOCs) in the environment, mainly in the air, and their potential risks to human health. Their emissions must be controlled because they may undergo chemical reactions in the atmosphere causing certain indirect effects, such as the formation of ozone. Elevated concentrations of ozone in the air can damage human health as well as some building materials, forests, vegetation and crops. The SED also targets certain specific VOCs for control because they can cause direct harm to human health or the environment.

Organic solvents are chemicals used in paints, inks and adhesives. They are used for the application of a film of paint, ink or adhesive to a surface, after which they evaporate to leave a decorated, printed or adhered finish. Solvents are also used to clean surfaces before coating and to remove grease and dirt, for instance during manufacturing. Because of the wide-ranging use of solvents, the SED applies to a a wide range of industries.

Further information about the SED can be found on DEFRA's Review of Process Guidance Notes.

The introduction of the SED means that, if your business uses VOCs above the threshold given within the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2007, you need a permit and must comply with its conditions to limit your solvent emissions.

If you think you may need a permit because of the activities your business undertakes, you should contact the Environmental Protection team on 01634 333333 who will give you advice on the need to apply for a permit and how to make an application.

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