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Planning before environmental permit requirement to be scrapped

Businesses will no longer need to obtain planning permission before applying for an environmental permit, Defra has indicated.

Responding to a consultation carried out between February and April 2013, the department said it proposed to remove the prerequisite to give “maximum flexibility” to operators.

Defra noted that over three-quarter of the 53 respondents agreed with the proposal. Those in the waste sector welcomed the opportunity of having more flexibility on when to apply for planning permission and environmental permits.

“For example, one respondent noted that applying simultaneously provided the most efficient and effective approach, recognising that a new facility would not be built without the necessary planning permission even if an environmental permit had been issued,” it said.

Opposing the proposal were five local authorities, which said that a relaxation of the requirements could encourage companies to operate in breach of planning controls, and this could lead to this to lengthy and costly enforcement proceedings.

The proposal was part of a package of measures to amend the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010 (see file right).

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