EA review of biowaste permits - call for evidence

Later this year the EA will be conducting a detailed review of biowaste permits with the aim of achieving better environmental outcomes. This call for evidence begins the process of their biowaste permit review. The deadline is 20th September 2018.

The EA want to ensure that any amendments they make to the permitting of biowaste facilities benefits society, reduces environmental risk, and are affordable. They want the permitting process and their compliance assessment to be meaningful, effective and consistent. The EA will use this call for evidence to gather views about the permitting framework and elements of their available guidance. They will use the responses to inform revisions to the permit conditions in autumn 2018, when they will give an opportunity for a further full consultation on any proposed changes.

The EA are seeking your views on a range of measures that might be adopted to reduce environmental risk posed by biowaste facilities. You can see the full details of the call for evidence here.

The consultation has been divided into the 15 areas of the biowaste sector which the EA are reviewing.
  • Withdrawing some standard rules permits that have had no or little uptake.
  • Looking at technical competence and particularly the number of operating hours a technically competent manager is needed to be onsite.
  • Construction standards, especially related to containment - looking to introduce requirement for design and construction to be to a standard certified by a qualified engineer.
  • AD de-gritting and tank integrity checks - becoming a permit condition.


  • Non-routine emissions or biogas and auxiliary flares - looking at removing pressure relief valves from emission tables but including emissions for non-routine operations and incident management. Also making having an emergency flare compulsory.
  • Gas upgrade and gas to grid - requiring additional capacity for storage.
  • Nitrogen management and ammonia emissions proposals: digestate (and ammonia-rich fertilisers) are stored to minimise ammonia loss; AD sites to have on-site storage for two months of production; requiring design and construction of air handling and abatement systems to be approved; digestate drying to require abatement.
  • Improved water efficiency - proposal to require harvesting of clean water and require separate storage of clean and dirty water.
  • Location of sensitive receptors - looking at either increasing the set back distances or requiring sites within 10 metres of a watercourse to have appropriate secondary containment. Also considering a range of measures regarding drainage infrastructure including, built to standard certified by engineer, a leak detection system for underground pipework and pipework to be fitted with flow metres and shut off valves.
  • Sensitive and protected areas - are the existing set back distances appropriate.
  • Waste types and acceptance - limiting tonnage to stated design capacity, removing 04 01 wastes from leather and fur industries and 07 glycerol waste from bio-diesel from standard rules, recommending post consumer wood is removed from the waste stream, and limiting the input of invasive species.
  • Waste acceptance - expanding waste acceptance procedures to require upstream auditing, pre-acceptance and waste sampling.
  • Sludge treatment - splitting the treatment activity into two permits, one for digestion and one for sludge treatment and stabilisation.


You can respond electronically using the standard rules consultation. Responses can be emailed to:

The deadline for responses is 20th September. REA will be responding to this consultation so please email your thoughts and comments to Jeremy by 10th September. Please use this form so we can collate comments more easily. Thank you. 

Posted: 29/06/18

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