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What is Environmental Permitting?

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The Environmental Permitting Regulations 2010  (EPR 2010) are a set of regulations designed to help mitigate industry's impact on the environment.


Some facilities could harm the environment or human health unless they are controlled.  The environmental permitting regime requires operators to obtain permits for some facilities, to register others as exempt and provides for ongoing supervision by regulators.  The aim is to:


  • Protect the environment so that statutory and Government policy environmental targets and outcomes are achieved.

  • Delivery permitting and compliance with permits and certain environmental targets effectively and efficiently in a way that provides increased clarity and minimises the administrative burden on both the regulator and the operators.

  • Encourage regulators to promote best practice in the operation of facilities.

  • Continue to fully implement European legislation.


You may need an environmental permit if you discharge liquid effluent or waste water (poisonous, noxious or polluting matter, waste matter, or trade or sewage effluent):


  • into surface waters, eg rivers, streams, estuaries, lakes, canals or coastal waters (known as water discharge activities)

  • onto or into the ground, eg land spreading waste sheep dip, or discharging treated sewage effluent to ground via an infiltration system (known as groundwater activities)


You need to apply to the Environment Agency for a permit for any standalone water discharge or groundwater activity - standalone means the activity isn’t part of a waste operation, installation or mining waste operation.


If your water discharge is part of one of these operations, you can make the discharge part of your installation permit or waste or mining waste permit.


You’re breaking the law if you operate without a permit if you should have one.

The general binding rules

You must follow the general binding rules if you’re the operator of a septic tank or small sewage treatment plant.

The sewage must:

  • be domestic in nature, for example from a toilet, bathroom, shower or kitchen of a house, flat or business (such as a pub, hotel or office) - contact the Environment Agency if you’re not sure if the sewage is domestic in nature

  • not cause pollution - find out how to check for pollution

There are other rules depending on whether you’re releasing this sewage:

  • to the ground, for example in your back garden

  • to a surface water, for example a river or stream

Ask your local installation or maintenance company if you’re not sure what sort of system you have.

Releasing to the ground

You must use a septic tank or a small sewage treatment plant and a drainage field (infiltration system).

You must apply for a permit if you release (‘discharge’):

  • to a well, borehole or other deep structure 

  • more than 2 cubic metres (2,000 litres) per day 

  • in a groundwater source protection zone (SPZ1)



If you need help with your application you've come to the right place.  With our extensive knowledge and years of experience on quality standards and discharge controls, we can take the hassle out of the application process.


Please contact us for a quote - simply press the HELP button below to send an email or  call us direct on 023 9220 0669.





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