EA to publish changes to standard rules on 1st December

The EA will be publishing a large number of amended and new rules sets on 1 Dec, following the environmental permit Standard Rules consultations No 12 and No.14. 

What they are publishing and why
On 1 December 2015 the EA will publish 41 amended rule sets and 22 new rule sets for activities with standard permits regulated under the Environmental Permitting Regulations, together with 44 new or amended generic risk assessments (GRAs) associated with these rule sets. These will be published on the standard rules pages on 

They will also publish updated application forms to include these changes. 

These changes implement the decisions the EA made following Standard Rules Consultation No 12 which took place between November 2014 and March 2015. After careful consideration of the consultation responses, they published their decisions in the report: Standard Rules for the Environmental Permitting Regulations Consultation No 12 Summary of Consultation Responses and Decisions in August 2015. 

In addition, they are also publishing relatively minor amendments to implement changes to rule sets that include soil treatment, transfer and recovery activities, following Standard Rules Consultation No14. That consultation report was published on 2 November 2015. These changes are being combined with those for SR consultation No12 as several rule sets are affected by both.  The rest of the SR Consultation No14 changes will be published at a later date.

Summary of the key changes
  • Industrial Emissions Directive (IED): The amendments reflect changes needed to meet the legislative requirements of the IED and include changes to the notification requirements and introducing upper capacity limits to ensure waste operations remain below the thresholds that would otherwise require an installations permit. 
  • Fire Prevention Plan: Amendments to 21 existing rule sets for sites which store combustible waste introduce the requirement for a Fire Prevention Plan to be submitted following a fire or if requested by the Environment Agency. These will only be available for existing permit-holders. New rules sets for the same 21 activities will be published for new applicants, which require the applicant to submit a Fire Prevention Plan with their application and to follow the plan as approved by the Environment Agency. The rules sets for waste wood treatment have also been amended to introduce limits for the amount of waste that can be stored, the duration it can be stored for and the proximity of the site to sensitive receptors. The rules sets for 5 activities that allow waste to be stored outside have also been amended to limit the storage duration.
  • Civic amenity and materials recycling facilities: Amendments to 4 rules sets have been introduced to allow permit-holders to accept household packaging wastes.  
  • Asbestos transfer stations: Amendments to the existing rules set clarify the requirements for surface water drainage, receiving bulky asbestos waste and the disposal activity ‘D’ codes that are allowed.
  • Metals recycling and WEEE Treatment: Amendments to 6 existing rules sets reflect the changes needed for the IED as described above, as well as changes to the surface water drainage requirements at End-of-Life vehicle sites and allowing equipment containing ozone depleting substances to be stored at WEEE sites. We have also published a new standard rules set for metal recycling and WEEE treatment to take place at the same site.
  • Soil treatment, transfer and recovery: Additional amendments have been made to new and amended rules sets for household, commercial and industrial waste transfer stations as a result of Standard Rules Consultation No 14. The changes clarify the need to meet end-of-waste criteria for any materials being recovered by the facility and introduce a waste acceptance requirement for any excavated soils coming from contaminated sites to be accompanied by prior chemical analysis.  
  • General amendments: These have been made to older standard rules to update references to Directives and legislation that has been superseded and to use consistent definitions and terminology.  In addition, two rules sets for on-farm anaerobic digestion which aren't affected by any of the proposals above have had minor amendments to terms and descriptions to make them consistent with similar rules sets.

How these changes affect existing permit-holders and new applicants
These changes take effect from the date of publication for new applicants and from 3 months after the date of publication, 1 March 2016, for existing permit-holders. There are about 2,500 existing permit holders affected by these changes and the EA will be notifying them by letter before the changes are published. A copy of the letter will be cascaded with this briefing and to the Area sector contacts. NPS will also contact all operators whose applications are currently being determined to advise them that they can choose to have the amended rules immediately if they wish. 

Changes to rules sets automatically apply to existing permits at the end of the 3 month transition period. In the notification letter they have advised existing permit-holders that if they will be unable to operate their activities to meet the amended rules, they must take the appropriate action to comply such as modifying their operations or applying for a different permit. We have advised them to discuss these options with their local Environment Agency officer in the first instance.

All guidance on standard rules can be found HERE.

Published: 30/11/2015

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