Environmental permits

All industrial processes have the potential to release pollution to land, air and water. This pollution can pose a health risk to people as well as damaging the environment. To prevent this, industrial processes are tightly regulated in order to minimise, and to manage, their environmental impacts.

This regulatory regime is known as 'Environmental permitting', it has previously been known as Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) and Pollution Prevention and Control (IPC).

It is an offence for any person/company to operate a permitted (prescribed) activity without a valid permit. The regulatory responsibility for this permitting regime is split between ourselves and the Environment Agency.

View a list of permitted sites and links to their operating permit. Visit GOV.UK for more guidance on environmental permits.

Medium combustion plant

Air pollution is the biggest environmental risk to public health in the UK, and currently unregulated medium sized combustion plants (MCPs) and generators, commonly used to heat hospitals, hotels, offices, prisons and other large buildings as well as powering some industries, are a significant source of pollution.

The new regulations are expected to provide 43% of the sulphur dioxide emissions reduction, 9% of the reduction for particulate matter, and 22% of the nitrogen oxides emissions reduction needed to meet the UK’s 2030 targets

The Environmental Permitting Regulations 2016 has been amended to include the Medium Combustion Directive. This will mean that medium combustion plant will be a ‘regulated facility’ and will need to comply with the requirements in the legislation. UK legislation has also included ‘specified generators’.

The legal definition of a medium combustion plant is “any technical apparatus in which fuels are oxidised in order to use the heat generated.” This applies to any combustion plant that has a rated thermal input between 1MW and 50MW such as:

  • combustion plants covered by Chapter III and Chapter IV of the Industrial Emission Directive
  • waste incinerators and waste co-incinerators
  • combustion plants designed to purify waste gases
  • gas turbines
  • diesel engines
  • combustion plants designed to provide heat within indoor spaces
  • plant that will dry, heat or provide other treatment of objects or materials. 
  • mobile combustion plant
  • on farm combustion plant
  • boilers
  • specified generators.

(This is a list of some of the typical types of combustion plant and should not be seen as all types)

Significant dates

An environmental permit will be required for all medium combustion plant and the date in which a permit will be required by depends whether the plant is new or existing:

  • from 20 December 2018 all new medium combustion plant will need an environmental permit
  • for existing medium combustion plant (operating before 20 December 2018) with a rated thermal input greater than 5MW, a permit is required after 1 January 2024.
  • for existing medium combustion plant (operating before 20 December 2018) with a rated thermal input less than 5MW, a permit is required after 1 January 2029.

Compliance with the emission limit values 

Emission limit values for emissions into the air of sulphur dioxides, nitrogen oxides and dust will need to be complied with no later than:

  • from 20 December 2018 for new medium combustion plant
  • from 1 January 2025 for existing medium combustion plant with a rated thermal input greater than 5MW
  • from 1 January 2030 for existing medium combustion plant with a rated thermal input less than 5MW.

The emission limit values can be found Annex II of the Medium Combustion Plant Directive.

The Regulator

The Environment Agency will be regulating the Medium Combustion Plant Legislation, if you have any further questions, please contact them using the details below:

Telephone: 03708 506506
Email:
enquiries@environment-agency.gov.uk
Website: www.gov.uk/environment-agency

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