Duties & Responsibilities
Local Authorities in England and Wales have a legal responsibility to regulate the emissions to air, land and water from various types of industrial and commercial activities.
Some types of processes are also regulated for their emission of noise and their approach to waste and energy efficiency. The processes are regulated by the issuing and enforcing of an environmental permit, the conditions of which are drafted with due regard to guidance documents produced by Defra and the Secretary of State.
The legislation which provides the legal framework for regulation of industrial processes is the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999 and the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010. This legislation is jointly enforced by Local Government Environmental Health Departments and Officers from the Environment Agency. The Categories of Industries prescribed for regulation under the permitting regime fall into three categories:
- Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC)
- Local Authority Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (LA-IPPC)
- Local Authority Pollution Prevention and Control (LA-PPC)
It is the duty of every local authority in England and Wales to regulate all LA-IPPC (Part ‘A2’ Processes) and PPC (Part ‘B’ Processes) within its area. The local authority must ensure that each process operator holds a valid permit and that the process is inspected periodically to determine compliance with the conditions of the permit.
The frequency of inspection is determined by a risk assessment which considers the hazards on the site and the risk those hazards pose to the environment. Inspections are normally every 4, 6 or 12 months and are carried out by a qualified IPPC inspector. If processes are found to be non-compliant then a range of informal and formal enforcement options are available to bring about improvements.
Local authorities must also provide central government with detailed information about the processes within its area on an annual basis.
All permits are reviewed periodically (at least every 6 years) to ensure that the process description and permit conditions accurately reflect the activities on the site. The local authority inspector can also vary the permit conditions at any time if the Secretary of States guidance changes or an operator makes an application for a substantial change to a process.
All permit operators are required to pay an annual fee to the local authority to cover the costs of regulating the permit. The fees that local authorities can charge are calculated by DEFRA and reflect the complexity of the process and the risk it poses to the community and the environment. The PPC/IPPC fees and charges are available on the DEFRA Website.