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EMR permit suspension overtuned

The suspension of an environmental permit for metal recycling firm EMR has been overturned following a High Court ruling.

EMR had been given an enforcement notice by the Environment Agency (EA) in February over the level of noise at its Parkhall Works site in Stoke on Trent which required the suspension its environmental permit.

A temporary injunction had been granted to EMR to stop the notice coming into effect, but the last week the High Court upheld EMR’s claim that the EA had failed to adequately set out what steps it should take to remove the suspension, as required by regulations, and ruled the suspension should be quashed.

Judge Pelling QC said that the regulations “imposed on the EA a mandatory requirement to specify what steps had to be taken in order to remove the risk that triggered the service of the notice”.

He concluded: “In my judgment however, what it was not entitled to do was to require the elimination of a risk of serious pollution without identifying the steps by which that was to be achieved. Subject to the alternative remedy point considered below, in my judgment EMR is entitled to a quashing order on this ground alone.”

The judge also said the EA had failed to consider the option of suspending the permit for only a part of the site.

An EA spokesperson said: “We strive to resolve problems like noise pollution by working directly with businesses and local communities. Unfortunately that wasn’t possible in this case, hence the suspension notice. We are now considering the court’s ruling before deciding our next step.”

EMR declined to comment.

 

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