The Environment Agency (EA) has launched a consultation on changes to some of its charges.
The consultation is asking for views on the agency’s proposals for environmental permitting, abstraction – taking water from surface, or underground sources - and EU Emissions Trading Schemes.
In the consultation document, the EA says that it has been able to keep some charges flat due to efficiency measures.
“However, for EPR [Environmental Permitting Regulation] installations, waste facilities and Radioactive Substances Regulation (non-nuclear) we need to increase our base charges to ensure we are adequately addressing deficits within those regimes and fully recovering our costs,” it says.
The agency is proposing a new permit commencement charge to reflect the costs of working with operators over the first 12 months of a new permit to make sure sites are run well and operators fully understand the permit requirements. This will apply to EPR installations and waste facilities. The new charge will be an extra 40% of the annual charge for the permit.
Other proposed changes being consulted on are:
- A 2% increases for our EPR Installations, EPR waste facilities and EPR Radioactive Substances Regulation (non-nuclear) charge.
- Increasing the compliance band adjustment for waste facilities and installations that continue to be in compliance Bands D, E and F for more than two years.
- Some minor technical changes to the EPR scheme
- Amendments to the Operational Risk Assement (Opra) scheme, including what is included in assessing operator compliance, and how Opra defines certain activities and their associated charging bands.
- An increase in the abstraction charge for the Northumbria account of 8% to address costs associated with the Kielder reservoir operating agreement for 2015/16 and each of the following two years.
The consultation does not propose increases related to EU Emissions Trading Schemes for 2015/2016, however the agency said it was planning a review to simplify the regimes and ensure that it could cover the costs of regulation.
The EA said it has not increased baseline charges for most regimes over in recent years and that this, combined with an efficiency programme has resulted in a 6% reduction in charges in real terms across all charging schemes.
“We have only proposed charge increases where we are failing to recover our costs fully,” the consultation says.
The consultation closes on 20 November 2014.