From today (1st October 2018), the Environment Agency will be charging time and materials following a pollution incident, for assessing information submitted to meet a permit condition and for sites of high public interest.
Satisfying permit conditions
We understand from the Environment Agency (EA) that they plan to charge for assessment of information submitted to satisfy permit condition requirements, something which operators are likely to feel should be covered by the annual subsistence fee.
They are also expected to charge to assess or approve information submitted by the operator to meet a condition in their permit – for example if you need to produce an odour management plan or fire prevention plan after your permit has been issued.
Rates and fee structure
The time and material charges are part of the EA’s new fee structure for which other new charges came into force on 1st April 2018. The changes are designed to enable the regulator to charge for the cost of regulatory activity.
When charging for time and materials the EA estimates how much work is required to assess a permit application or regulate that activity. The operator is invoiced for the number of hours based on the EA’s new set hourly rate – £100 per hour in this case. This rate allows for the cost of support staff and overheads and must be paid before the application is determined.
Sites of high public interest
The EA has singled out sites of high public interest due to the propensity for these sites to require greater levels of assessment over longer periods of time. Sites of high environmental, legal or political interest, deemed to include hydraulic fracturing for onshore oil and gas exploration as well as energy-from-waste, also often generate extensive media coverage and require additional public consultation.
For more information about EA fees, visit the Government website or contact Wiser Environment on 01480 462 232.