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As part of our commitment to continually improve our service and to help our clients meet their legal obligations, we continue to update the Legal Registers on our website and provide free quarterly legal compliance updates to anyone who subscribes. The purpose of these updates is to ensure you stay up to date with any changes in your legal compliance obligations, our updates can also be kept and can be used as evidence that your business is staying up to date with any changes in the legislation, this can be very helpful at audit time.
The Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 aim to protect the environment by regulating certain activities that may have an impact on it. The regulations require operators of certain industrial activities to obtain an environmental permit from the relevant environmental regulator before starting operations. The permit sets out conditions that the operator must comply with to prevent or reduce any potential harm to the environment. The regulations also provide for the monitoring, inspection and enforcement of the permit conditions to ensure compliance. The regulations apply to activities listed in the Schedule to the regulations, including waste management, water discharge, and industrial production. They also apply to activities that have the potential to cause environmental harm or pose a risk to human health.
The schedule to the regulations lists a range of activities that require an environmental permit to operate. The activities are categorized into the following parts:
Part A(1) - Activities with the potential to cause the most pollution, such as large-scale combustion, chemical production, and waste treatment and disposal.
Part A(2) - Activities that have the potential to cause significant pollution, including some types of animal rearing, metal production, and solvent use.
Part B - Activities with the potential to cause less pollution, such as some types of vehicle refuelling, dry cleaning, and concrete production.
Part C - Other activities, such as some types of storage and handling of radioactive materials, which are not covered by Parts A or B.
The activities listed in the Schedule are varied, but they all have the potential to cause harm to the environment or human health if not properly regulated. The environmental permit sets out specific conditions that the operator must comply with to prevent or reduce any potential harm.
The Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 require operators of certain activities to provide evidence of their compliance with the permit conditions. This includes providing information on their operations, such as the types and quantities of substances they handle or emit, and their methods of control and monitoring. The regulations also require the operator to provide evidence of their financial capacity to comply with the permit conditions, such as proof of insurance or other forms of financial security.
In addition, the regulations require the operator to monitor and report on their activities and the environmental impact of their operations. The monitoring data and reports are used to assess compliance with the permit conditions and to inform any necessary enforcement actions.
The regulations also provide for public participation, requiring the operator to make certain information available to the public, such as permit applications, monitoring data and reports, and details of any enforcement actions taken.
Operators are required to keep records of their activities, monitoring data, and any incidents that may have resulted in non-compliance with the permit conditions. The records must be kept for a specified period of time and made available to the environmental regulator upon request.
The Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 provide some exemptions for certain activities and situations. The following are some examples of exemptions:
1. Some activities that are considered low-risk and do not have a significant environmental impact, such as some types of small-scale waste operations or car repairs, may be exempt from the requirement for an environmental permit.
2. Some activities that are already subject to other environmental permitting regimes, such as those related to water discharge or mining waste, may be exempt.
3. Certain types of agriculture activities, such as spreading of slurry or manure, may be exempt under certain conditions.
4. Some types of emergency or temporary activities, such as emergency repairs to a sewage works or a flood defence scheme, may be exempt.
It is important to note that the exemptions are not automatic, and operators must be able to demonstrate that they meet the criteria for exemption. Additionally, even if an activity is exempt from the regulations, the operator may still be required to comply with other environmental legislation and may be liable for any environmental harm caused if it results from negligence or non-compliance.
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Including our quarterly legal compliance updates that are a great resource for evidence for your ISO audits.