Defra has confirmed that the government is to go ahead with suggested amendments to the environmental permitting regime, which is intended to ease the regulatory burden on businesses in the sector.
Plans outlining proposed changes to the Waste Transfer Note (WTN) system were published on the 9th of December. Amongst many of the amendments to environmental laws intended to ease the burden of regulation on businesses under the Red Tape Challenge, there are also reforms to the permitting system.
The deletion of the requirement for businesses to have planning permission for certain waste operations before an environmental permit is issued, are among the permitting permissions that Defra is pursuing.
With the Environment Agency estimating that up to 10% of all permit applications are delayed due to its unknown status when the permit is applied for, it is hoped that the relevant changes can speed up the permitting process.
Those responding to the consultation from the waste sector welcomed the proposal, and said that it would offer increased flexibility in being able to arrange applications for environmental and planning permissions according to what businesses need.
In order to provide greater industry knowledge to the permitting appeals system, government has recommended that the responsibility for overseeing appeal hearings be passed over to the FTT – a civil sanctions body made consisting of judges and expert counsel.
Plans to reduce the amount of time that businesses have to lodge appeals over an application from six months to 28 days were amongst the concerns raised during the consultation process.
According to estimates published in the consultation document the measures could provide savings of between £3.2 and £3.7 million for the regulatory bodies. Through the proposals Waste management operations will also be put it line with other activities that require environmental permitting.