Environmental permits

You may need an environmental permit from us if you operate a facility which carries out activities that could pollute the air, water or land and increase flood risk by adversely affecting land drainage.

What facilities need a licence

Facilities that carry out these activities are called regulated facilities.

They include:

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

You are breaking the law if you operate without a permit when you should have one. To check if you need a permit and for further information about environmental permits see the government's guidance.

What activities need a permit

Businesses that carry out any of these activities will need a permit:

  • 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 landfills, recovering waste
  • solvents - using solvents
  • other - manufacturing paper, pulp and board, treating timber products, coating, treating textiles and printing, manufacturing new tyres, intensive pig and poultry farming

What permit(s) you will need

Permits are divided into three categories:

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

You will need a Part A(1) permit if your business activities include:

  • exempt waste operation
  • exempt water discharge activity
  • exempt groundwater activity

If you need a Part A(1) permit you need to apply to the Environment Agency. For Part A(2) and Part B permits you need to apply to us.

Part A(2) permits

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

  • refining gas
  • metal works, eg producing pig iron or steel, casting ferrous metal, operating forge hammers or applying fused metal coatings
  • melting non-ferrous metals
  • surface treating metals and plastic materials
  • grinding cement clinker or metallurgical slag
  • glass manufacturing
  • cellulose fibre reinforced calcium silicate board manufacturing
  • ceramic product manufacturing, including roof tiles and bricks
  • non-hazardous or animal waste incineration
  • manufacturing wood based boards, eg plywood
  • new tyre manufacturing
  • disposing of or recycling animal carcasses or waste

You need to apply to us for this permit.

Part B permits

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

Part B installations or mobile plants are regulated by the local authority, except waste operations which are regulated by the Environment Agency.

You need to apply to us for this permit.

Who can apply for a permit

The application must made by the operator of the regulated facility.

We would suggest that operators have a pre-application discussion with us before making a formal application.

No licence will be granted for waste operations unless any required planning permission had first been granted.


You should contact us for information about costs.

What you need to provide with your application

You should submit a completed application form and any relevant documents associated with your application, including specified information which will vary depending on the operation.

What happens once you have made an application

We will review your application once it is submitted. If an application has not been made correctly it will be returned to you. We will tell you if more information is needed. You will need to provide this information or the application will be deemed to be withdrawn.

We will normally make a decision on your application within 4 months of receipt (3 months for dry cleaners). We will consider the protection of the environment as a whole by preventing or, where that is not practicable, reducing emissions into the air, water and land.

We may inform the public of the application and will consider any representations (comments) that they make about your application.

Tacit consent will not apply

It is in the public interest that the we process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from us within 4 months you should contact us.

Annual subsistence charges

To maintain your permit you will need to pay a yearly subsistence charge that covers the costs of regulating your business activity. How much you pay will vary depending on what activities your business carries out and how much time we spend ensuring you are meeting the regulatory standards.

Apply for a new permit or manage your current permit

You can apply online for an environmental permit, apply to make changes to your current permit or pay your annual subsistence charge.

Apply for a permit by post

Public Register

Our role is to write a permit that contains a number of conditions to control the way the process operates and set emission standards or pollution levels.

We inspect these processes routinely and more often where we suspect problems may be happening. Breaching the conditions we set may lead to enforcement action and can lead to prosecution. We keep information about these processes on a public register.

How to make an appeal or a complaint

If you have been refused an environmental permit you may appeal to the Secretary of State. Appeals must be lodged no later than 6 months from the date of the decision to refuse your permit.

Appeals must be lodged to us in relation to the 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 6 months from the date of the decision.

If you want to make a complaint about an operator or facility you should contact us.

Contact Environmental Protection Service

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