Agenda item - Information Report - Environmental Permitting

Agenda item

Information Report - Environmental Permitting


The Board received an information report on Environmental Permitting.


The Technical Services Manager, WRS, introduced the report and in doing so informed Members that WRS undertook the Local Authority statutory duties relating to the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999 (referred to as the Environmental Permitting Regime) for the six Worcestershire Districts under the current Statement of Partner Requirements and also for Gloucester City as a contractor.


These matters seldom came to the attention of Members due to the technical complexities involved, but with industrial pollution control currently having a higher profile, officers thought it would be helpful to give Members a better understanding of the regime and what WRS carried out on behalf of partner authorities.


Page 61 of the main agenda pack detailed the three levels of permit control under the regime.


Businesses required to be permitted were expected to submit an application form with the appropriate fee, which varied depending on the process being operated.  Officers then worked with the business to determine the controls required as part of the process.  Following the issue of a permit, each business was subject to inspections whose frequency was dictated by a risk rating.  The risk rating was dependant on the type of process being operated and the level of confidence in compliance that risk assessing officers had in the management of the business. 


All fees were set by central government and were collected by the Partner Authority or, in the case of Gloucester City, WRS client authority.


Small Waste Incineration Plant (SWIP) and the Renewable Heat Initiative

There had been considerable confusion nationally within both the combustion sector and local enforcement authorities with regard to the permitting of these installations.  This had resulted in the use of inappropriate equipment to burn controlled waste streams.


Such processes should be regulated by an A2 permit issued under Schedule 13 of the legislation.  WRS had assisted neighbouring authorities where it had been identified that either an incorrect permit had been issued or where waste fuel had been issued illegally by businesses but generally through ignorance rather than design.


Smoke and odour issues could sometimes be caused by the operation of legitimate virgin wood boilers (more commonly known as biomass boilers).  These appliances should not be mistaken for SWIPs, which were designed specifically to burn waste, which included waste wood products and not virgin wood.


WRS had worked very closely with the Environment Agency (EA, which regulated the waste industry) and WRS officers who delivered the scheme had a good working knowledge.  WRS’s Technical Pollution team had been recognised nationally and officers were engaged at this level in a number of areas.  Members of staff currently sat on the EA’s technical regulation board for the following sectors:-


·         Nonferrous Metal

·         Timber Processes

·         Medium Sized Combustion Plant Directive

·         Schedule 13 SWIP’s (Small Waste Incineration Plant’s)


During 2017 WRS started looking at the potential of delivering Primary Authority assured advice generally on Environmental Permits.  Previously only advice on simple petrol vapour recovery had been subject to this approach. 


WRS had recently agreed Primary Authority work programmes with two large national / international companies; CEMEX UK and Wienerberger UK Limited.  A two year fixed-term post had been created in order to provide capacity to deliver this work. 


Officers were also undertaking an audit for the Ministry of Defence and were currently chasing other scopes. 


In summary WRS had secured 50% of their Primary Authority Contracts this financial year.


The Chairman reiterated that, as highlighted in the report, the work of WRS’s Technical Pollution team had been recognised nationally and that guidance produced by WRS officers also being taken up nationally.  This national recognition was an achievement that WRS officers should be extremely proud of.


Members agreed with the positive comments made by the Chairman and stated that it was an excellent start to the year.


At the invitation of the Chairman the Head of Regulatory Services, WRS, stated that the Technical Services Manager, the Business and Relationships Manager and both of their teams had pulled all of the Primary Authority work together.  Other areas that could be exploited would be looked into and officers would continue to deliver an excellent service.


RESOLVEDthat the Environmental Permitting Information Report, be noted.






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