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EA plans charges for formerly exempt sites

Waste and metal operators who will no longer be exempt from environmental permitting following the Environment Agencys current exemptions consultation could have to pay up to £2,750 to apply for a permit for their site.

In a consultation on proposed environmental permitting charges for 2010/11, the EA outlined how the charges would affect the estimated 5,000 sites which are currently exempt from a permit but, under its ongoing review of the exemptions system, are expected to have to pay for a permit.

The EA states that it recognises the difficulties facing business and industry in the current economic situation and we have therefore worked hard to develop a suite of proposals that are responsive to business needs, while protecting the environment.

It proposes charges for newly-liable waste facilities ranging from £700 for mobile plants being used to treat agricultural land, up to the top-end of £2,750 which would apply to four non-standard waste activities, such as manufacture of timber and construction products from waste less than 250,000 tonnes. The other activities include use of wastes in construction less than 100,000 tonnes, use of wastes for reclamation, restoration less than 100,000 tonnes and the treatment of waste to produce soil, soil substitutes, road-stone and aggregate less than 75,000 tonnes.

Other new charges include £1,910 for waste electrical and electronic equipment treatment facilities and £1,590 for the composting of biodegradable waste and anaerobic digestion plants.
The move to make some exempt activities apply for a permit has caused concern within the metals recycling sector, following Government proposals to withdraw the paragraph 45 exemption, included in the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2007. If proposals go through up to 300 metal recycling businesses could be pushed into requiring evidence of planning permission (see MRW story).

Last year, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs consulted on removing this exemption, as part of a programme to tidy up its environmental regulations.

The EA document on proposed environmental permitting charges states: We currently have a standard permit that covers a wider range of scrap metal activities. Over the coming months we would hope to discuss this permit with the scrap metal industry to check that it still satisfies their needs following the Governments recent response to the consultation on the exemption review. The Government confirmed its intention to limit the size and scope of the current scrap metal exemptions (meaning that more scrap metal operations will require permits).

The deadline for the consultation is on 16 December 2009.



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