IPPC Permit Applications

Key Legislation:

For more detail on the Legislation relevant to this page, please use the following links:

Supporting Legislation:

Because of the regional differences between the PPC Regulations, DEFRA (England and Wales) and SEPA (and the Scottish Executive) have each published a document called “IPPC – A Practical Guide” which gives an overview of the respective PPC regulatory regimes.

A wide range of technical guidance exists. This is a combination of sector specific guidance (much of which was published under the IPC Regime but is still applicable) as well as IPPC specific guidance and cross-sector guidance.

The European Commission is facilitating the production of technical guidance on Best Available Techniques (BAT) under the EC Directive 96/61 known as BAT Reference Documents or BREFs. BREFs are designed to demonstrate best available techniques (BAT) for each sector covered by IPPC. It should be noted that where UK Technical Guidance exists for a sector, this should be used as the main reference document for demonstration of BAT, with the BREF providing supplementary information where appropriate. A full list of BREFs is available on the European Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Bureau. The Transitional Schedule for IPPC implementation is based on the timetable of production of relevant BREFs for each industry sector.

IPPC Guidance is now available for Scotland on the SEPA website and on the Environment Agency website for England and Wales.

PPC Technical Guidance is created for use with existing IPC and waste guidance, and deals with issues included in IPPC that may not have been covered in the previous regulatory regime, such as environmental assessment, accidents, energy, noise, site restoration and the like. It lays down some general standards and expectations in the UK (England, Wales and Scotland) for the techniques and standards that need to be addressed to satisfy the Regulations. A full list of PPC Technical Guidance applicable in the UK is available on the SEPA website.

In addition to Technical Guidance, both EA and SEPA have produced guidance notes on completion of the application forms (see “How to Apply for It” under the Consent Needed and How to Obtain It tab).

Guidance is also available on the Local Air Pollution Prevention and Control (LAPPC) Application Process for Part A(2) and Part B processes in England and Wales on the DEFRA website (see “Activities under IPPC”, under the Performances Standards tab, for clarification on which installations fall under this category).

Consent Needed:

The IPPC Regime applies to all installations where one or more activities that are listed in Schedule 1 of the PPC Regulations 2000 are undertaken.

A single installation may contain one or more of the activities listed under Schedule 1. An installation may also include certain “directly associated activities” that may not be identified explicitly in the Regulations. Each one of the activities that make up the installation needs to be covered by a permit to operate. This may be achieved through a single permit for the entire installation, or several permits covering different parts of the installation.

Installations with Part A(1) or A(2) activities will require an IPPC Permit, Installations with only Part B activities will require an LAPPC Permit (see the IPPC Activities under the Performance Standards tab).

Permits are required for all new installations and existing installations undergoing a Substantial Change. Permits will be required for all installations falling under the scope of the Regulations, but a transitional schedule is in place for existing installations.

How to Apply for it:

Schedule 4 to the PPC Regulations sets out the requirements for the content of applications. Applications must be made by completing the standard application form as provided by the EA (England and Wales) or SEPA (Scotland).

The following links provide information on application forms and guidance for completing the application forms. Note that this guidance is additional to the Practical Guides and UK Technical Guidance and these should be read in conjunction with other guidance available (see the Guidance Notes under the Legislation tab).

IPPC Application Guidance – England and Wales

IPPC Application Guidance – Scotland

Before making an application it is suggested that discussions are held with EA/SEPA in order to clarify the application process and steps required. In very complex cases, where a permit or a variation is sought, EA/SEPA may engage in more detailed and formalised pre-application procedures and discussions. The cost of this additional consultation time is borne by the Operator.

In addition to basic site and operator information, the application requires the compilation of the following:

  • Identification of all activities at the installation.
  • A site report describing the condition of the site for the part of the installation in respect of which you are applying. This will act as a baseline for future monitoring as well as identifying any key sensitivities.
  • Suitable maps or plans of the site.
  • Demonstration that emissions are prevented or reduced to at least the standards achievable by BAT (see the Performance Standards tab), including comparison with any BAT based benchmarks.
  • Assessment of the impacts on the environment. This may be a package of material providing information that is relevant to the questions, including relevant Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs).
  • Details of any changes or variations (if applying for a variation) and judgement on whether this would entail a “Substantial Change”.

As with IPC, a copy of the application and any further information relating to it will be put on the Public Register, excluding any details that have been determined to be commercially confidential or affect national security.

Operators are required to advertise in one or more local newspapers and in the London Gazette. Details of the activities must be provided together with a statement of where the application can be viewed and where public representations should be made.

Who to Apply to:

In Scotland, SEPA is the competent authority for all PPC Permits.

In England and Wales, the Environment Agency (EA) regulates IPPC Part A(1) processes and the Local Authorities regulate IPPC Part A(2) and Part B processes (see the IPPC Activities under the Performance Standards tab).

The application should be sent to the Operator’s local SEPA/EA office or Local Authority as appropriate.

In addition, copies of the application must also be submitted to the appropriate statutory consultees which may include the HSE, local authorities, local sewerage undertakers, local harbour authorities, Scottish Natural Heritage, Natural England, DEFRA, etc. The application form will help you identify who to submit the applications to.

When to Apply for New Installations:

For new installations and installations undergoing substantial change, the IPPC application is generally made when the full designs have been completed (i.e. prior to construction). For processes that are not excessively complex the application may be made at the design stage. If planning permission is also required the applications should be made in parallel as far as possible.

For complex new installations, the applicant should seek SEPA/EA agreement to use a “staged” application procedure (i.e. application and supporting information submitted in a number of branches, as the process plans are developed).

The maximum statutory period following receipt of a duly made application for EA/SEPA to reach a decision is four months (excluding any time for the Operator to provide additional information if requested). In complex cases, agreement may be sought by EA/SEPA for a longer period of determination.


The most significant difference from the IPC regime is that IPPC takes a wider range of environmental impacts into account than IPC. The IPC system regulates emissions to land, water and air only. However, the IPPC regime also takes into account waste minimisation or avoidance, energy efficiency, accident prevention, and minimisation of noise, heat and vibration.

IPPC also applies to a wider range of industries than IPC, new industries covered include landfill and food and drink manufacturers.

Under IPPC, “installations” are referred to as opposed to “processes” which is the term used for IPC. This change in terminology enables a more integrated approach to regulation; a whole installation must be permitted rather than just individual processes within the installation.

Both IPC and IPPC allow a balance of costs and benefits to be taken into account although the wording has changed. IPC refers to Best Available Techniques not Incurring Excessive Cost (BATNEEC), while IPPC refers to Best Available Techniques (BAT). However, the definition of BAT under IPPC defines “Available” as economically viable techniques.

IPPC General Principles:

Conditions contained in IPPC Authorisations reflect the general principles that:

  • All the appropriate preventative measures are taken against pollution, in particular through the application of BAT
  • No significant pollution is caused
  • Waste production is avoided in accordance with the EU Directive on waste and where waste is produced it is recovered or, where that is technically and economically impossible, it is disposed of while avoiding or reducing any impact on the environment
  • Energy is used efficiently
  • The necessary measures are taken to prevent accidents and limit their consequences
  • Upon definitive cessation of activities in the installation, the necessary measures should be taken to avoid any pollution risk and to return the site to a satisfactory state.
Activities that Fall Under IPPC:

The IPPC Regime applies to all installations undertaking activities that are listed in Schedule 1 of the PPC Regulations 2000, which include the following broad headings:

  • Combustion activities
  • Gasification, liquefaction and refining activities (including storage of crude oil)
  • Disposal of waste by incineration
  • Disposal of waste by landfill
  • Disposal of waste other than by incineration or landfill
  • Recovery of waste
  • Production of fuel from waste

IPPC installations are divided into three tiers, with differing permit requirements.

Part A(1) activities – this replaces the Part A processes under IPC and includes the most technically complex or potentially polluting activities. Emissions to land, water and air are considered and are regulated under IPPC.

Part A(2) activities – these activities are on the whole new activities that the regulations have been extended to include. These are potentially less polluting than Part A(1) activities. Emissions to land, water and air are considered and are regulated under IPPC.

Part B activities are those processes with a lesser potential to pollute. Only emissions to the air are regulated. These activities fall under the Local Air Pollution Prevention and Control Scheme (LAPPC). This replaces the LAPC Permit under the IPC requirements of EPA90.

Best Available Techniques (BAT):

BAT is defined as “the most effective and advanced stage in the development of activities and their methods of operation which indicate the practical suitability of particular techniques for providing the basis for emission limit values designed to prevent and, where that is not practicable, generally to remove emissions and the impact on the environment as a whole”.

Techniques shall include both the technology used and the way in which the installation is designed, built, maintained, operated and decommissioned.

Available techniques means those developed on a scale which allows implementation in the relevant industrial sector under economically and technically viable conditions, taking into consideration costs and advantages, whether or not the techniques have viable conditions, taking into consideration cost and advantages, whether or not the techniques used are produced inside the Member State in questions, as long as they are reasonably accessible to the operator.

Best is defined as most effective in achieving a high general level of protection of the environment as a whole. Schedule 2 to the PPC Regulations gives a list of factors to be considered in determining BAT.

Emission Limit Values:

Emission limit values are defined as the mass, expressed in terms of specific parameters, concentration or level of an emission, which may not be exceeded during one or more periods of time.

Emission levels are specific to each authorisation. However, IPPC guidance notes will list general indicative requirements for each business sector (see the Guidance Notes under the Legislation tab).

Substantial Change:

Substantial change is defined as “a change in operation which in the opinion of the competent authority may have significant negative effects on human beings or the environment”.

For further information on determining substantial change see the EA’s or SEPA’s Practical Guide to IPPC (see SEPA website).


Monitoring requirements are case specific and will be detailed in the IPPC Authorisation. Generally however, where technology permits and is appropriate for the size of plant, the regulator will require continuous sampling and monitoring instruments to be installed together with information for recording or data logging of information.

What to Report:

All operators of IPPC installations must report the most accurate mass releases for all substances appearing in the Inventory of Sources and Releases (ISR) Reporting Form (otherwise known as the Pollution Inventory) in respect to the installation operation during the previous year.

The calculations, estimations and assumptions made in determining the annual releases must be recorded in writing and retained for a period of 4 years.

The European Pollutant Emissions Register (EPER) adopted by the European Commission, requires reporting of 50 pollutants released to air and water every 3 years. The first reporting year is 2003 based on emissions from 2001 (or 2000 or 2002 where 2001 data are not available). This will require data to be collected from some existing installations before they have obtained IPPC permits. The EPER arrangements are expected to build on the UK National Pollution Inventory already established under IPC.

For additional guidance on EPER see the EC Guidance Document (PDF document) for EPER implementation. This provides general information on what EPER is, the substances covered, the reporting thresholds and indicative sector specific sub-lists of air and water substances.

When to Report:

The ISR reporting form has to be completed no later than 31 January each year. Completed forms should be submitted to the local EA/SEPA office as appropriate.

What to do if Breach in Authorisation:

The operator must notify EA/SEPA if it is in breach of the requirements of the authorisation.

EA/SEPA may revoke an authorisation in cases where there has been persistent failure to comply with conditions.

Enforcement Powers:

EA/SEPA has powers to issue enforcement notices to specify steps that must be taken in order to remedy any contravention to the authorisation.

Where the enforcing authority believes that the continuation of a prescribed process under an authorisation may involve an imminent risk of serious pollution, the authority has powers to issue a prohibition notice.

A number of other enforcement powers are given to authorised inspectors, including powers of entry, powers to take samples and measures, powers to remove materials for further investigation, powers of questioning and powers to request production of documents. Where an inspector has reasonable cause to believe that in the circumstances in which he finds it, an article or substance is a cause of imminent danger or serious harm he may seize it in order to render it harmless.


It is an offence to operate a prescribed process without an authorisation or to contravene any conditions attached to an authorisation or other enforcement notice without reasonable excuse. Other offences include making false or misleading statements and obstructing an inspector.

Summary conviction carries a maximum fine of £20,000 and/or three months imprisonment, and conviction on indictment an unlimited fine and/or two years imprisonment.

Renewal of Permit:

SEPA/EA will review permit conditions periodically and at any time, in light of new information on environmental effects, available techniques or other relevant issues.

SEPA/EA intend to publish guidance notes setting out the normal review periods that are appropriate for installations in each activity sector. However, review may also occur in addition to these normal review periods.


Any changes to operations that do not conflict with any requirements of the permit, a simple notification to EA/SEPA to inform them of this change is sufficient.

Any changes that would require a variation to any part of the permit requires an application to vary the IPPC Permit.

Permit Transfer:

It is an offence to operate an installation without being the holder of an IPPC Permit. A joint application must be made by the current operator and future operator. Any transfers must be approved before they take place.

A two month period should be allowed for permit transfer once a duly made application has been submitted (excluding any time for the Operator to provide additional information if requested).

Permit Surrender:

Cessation or intention to cease operating whole or part of an installation, requires an application to surrender the corresponding part of the permit. Demonstration will be required to show that any necessary steps have been taken to avoid pollution risk and return the site to a “satisfactory” state.

A three month period should be allowed for a surrender to be accepted once a duly made application has been submitted (excluding any time for the Operator to provide additional information if requested).

Change to permit regime:

From mid 2008, the introduction of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 is intended to streamline the nuts and bolts of environmental permitting and compliance systems (e.g. the processes of obtaining, varying and transferring permits), including Pollution Prevention and Control. For full background of the regime see DEFRA.

Environmental Liability Directive 2004/35/EC: The Environmental Liability Directive was adopted in 2004 and was required to be implemented by 30 April 2007.  The Directive enforces strict liability for prevention and remediation of environmental damage to ‘biodiversity’, water and land from specified activities and remediation of environmental damage for all other activities through fault or negligence.The Environmental Liability Directive is now implemented in England and Wales (see Environmental Liability). The Scottish Government has completed its second consultation and regulations are pending.

Environment Agency permitting scheme:

The Environment Agency has announced the launch of an online regulatory system, including environmental permitting. The EA is seeking to unify regulatory activities into an online “one-stop shop” after investing in a new IT project. It will continue to accept hard copies, however firms will be able to submit applications for permits online. It is anticipated that all permits would be covered by the system within the next 12-18 months.

Odour Guidance: SEPA had launched a consultation on its proposed new guidance for regulating odorous emissions from regulated sites. It has updated and developed a single odour guidance document for use in Scotland intended as an introduction to the regulation of odour. Consultation on this guidance document closed on 29 August 2008.