The Environment Agency has launched a public consultation on the cost of its permits and business charges. The proposed changes will mean that businesses pay for the full services they use rather than the public – a more financially-sustainable model that will lead to long-term environmental improvements.
The changes affecting the waste and resources sector include the hazardous waste treatment sector having a decrease in charges, while there would be increases biowaste treatment and metal recycling sites.
This the biggest review of charges that the Environment Agency has ever carried out, and has involved a 12 month period of engagement with businesses and trade associations. There have been very limited changes to business charges since 2011, with costs kept below inflation (CPI).
The proposals are for a simpler and more consistent charging arrangement. Our charges will reflect the amount of regulatory effort needed at a site. Businesses that are well-managed and low-hazard present a low environmental risk and would be charged less. Higher-risk or poor-performing businesses would be charged more.
If the new charges are implemented, the Environment Agency says it will also be able to invest more in our permitting service. This is vital to improve the standards of certain sectors, such as waste and nuclear industries.
Neil Davies, Environment Agency Director of Regulated Services, said: “Our work to regulate industry protects and enhances the environment. The proposed changes will mean that businesses pay for the full services they use rather than the public. This is more financially-sustainable, will lead to a better service to businesses and long-term improvements to the environment.”
“We have been engaging with trade associations over the last year while we were developing these proposals. Their input into this process has been really valuable and I urge them to take part in the consultation.”
In the waste sector, proposed changes include:
- The Hazardous Waste Treatment sector sees an overall decrease in charges.
- The Non-hazardous waste sector overall income sees a slight overall reduction, however there is variation across the different permit categories
- Increases for the Biowaste Treatment. This is a sector with many resource intensive amenity issues. The larger facilities will see charges increasing by around 100%, while the smaller sites will see costs remain broadly the same.
- The Metal Recycling sites see increases throughout the charge categories, with those larger sites recently falling to control under the Industrial Emission Directive requiring more resource than was envisaged under previous charging regimes.
The consultation will run until 12th January 2018, with the proposed charges being introduced in April 2018 – the start of the financial year.