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Pollution Prevention & Control

Pollution Prevention & Control

In Northern Ireland, a new system of pollution control from industrial sources was introduced in 1998.  This was revised in 2003 and again in 2013.

Certain industrial processes are required to have a permit in order to operate.  The permit allows the holder to operate a process subject to certain conditions.

The conditions within a permit will aim to limit or prevent the emission of certain prescribed substances and other products from those processes.

Anyone who operates a process which is prescribed by the regulations must use Best Available Techniques (BAT) to control and manage this risk, while striking a balance between costs and environmental benefits.
The Pollution Prevention and Control (Industrial Emissions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013

The Industrial Pollution and Radiochemical Inspectorate Unit of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency are responsible for regulating those premises where there is potential for emissions to the land, air or water. This is known as Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) and the premises to be regulated are categorised as Part A and Part B Processes.

Local Air Pollution Prevention and Control
The Council is responsible for Local Air Pollution Prevention and Control (LAPPC) and premises prescribed in the regulations are known as Part C processes which have the potential to cause emissions to the air only.

Each regulated industrial process has a Process Guidance Note which details the type of emissions associated with that process, what the emission limits are and how to comply with the emission limits using Best Available Techniques.  The Permits are issued in accordance with Process Guidance Notes and Government Guidance.

The Charging Scheme for Pollution Prevention and Control Premises has been laid down in the Charging Scheme Legislation 2013.

Eligibility Criteria
You must be a fit and proper person to carry out the activity your application relates to.

Application Evaluation Process
If you want to operate any of the businesses listed, you must apply for a permit at least six months before you want to open your premises. Before you apply you should read the PPC Process Guidance Note relevant to your business and the council’s guide for PPC Permit applications.

The fee to apply for a permit varies depending on the business you have or intend to operate.

The Council will take into account that all appropriate pollution prevention methods are taken, particularly through best available techniques and that no significant pollution is caused.

The Council may be required to give notice of your application to the petroleum licensing authority, dependent upon the activity you will carry out. They may also be required to give notice of the application to any other bodies the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) require. If they intend to attach an off-site condition to your permit they will provide notice to you, or the owner, lessee or occupier of the land if not you. They must consider any representations made in relation to your application.

Once you have applied
On receipt of the application it will be reviewed. If all required information has been supplied we will advise within 14 days you that the application has been ‘duly made’.

Full details of the application (except for information that is commercially confidential or would prejudice national security) will be made public to allow for comment or objection before any permit is granted.  A copy of the application and associated documentation will be placed on the Public Register and you will be required to advertise your application in the local media (except for reduced-fee activities).

We liaise with other statutory bodies, such as the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, so they can review and comment on the application.   We can also request more information, both formally and informally, from businesses through an information notice.

A visit will be organised to discuss your application and inspect your installation or equipment. We will then either grant or refuse your application within six months of the application being duly made

Once approved, the permit will be drawn up and will specify conditions which will set emission limit values, operational controls and help minimise and prevent pollution, based on the best available techniques (BAT).

You will also be required to pay a subsistence fee each year for holding a permit.

Please note, it is an offence to operate without a permit. The maximum fine for doing so is £50,000 and up to 6 months in prison. Click here for more information on permit applications

Will Tacit Consent Apply
Yes.  Once your application has been deemed ‘duly made’ (i.e. you have provided all the requisite information and certification etc) the Council must make a determination within six months of the application being ‘duly made’.  However, this period may be extended at the agreement of the Council and the applicant.  If you have not heard from the Council in relation to your application by the time this six month period has elapsed you can assume that the permit has been granted.

Apply Online

You can also request a copy of the application form by calling us on 0300 0300 900

Failed Application & Licence Holder Redress
Please contact the council in the first instance.

You may appeal against the decision of the council to the Planning Appeals Commission. Appeals must be made in writing and the time frame for appeals will depend upon the type of decision appealed against.

Consumer Complaint
We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader by you – preferably in the form a letter (with proof of delivery).

Other Redress
If you have a complaint about noise, pollution or should one licence holder complain about another contact the council.

Permit Holder Information
Once the Permit is issued you will be inspected by an Environmental Health Officer to ensure that the conditions of the Permit are being met.  The frequency of inspections will depend on the risk rating of your premises.  The premises can be categorised as High, Medium or Low depending on the level of compliance with the Permit.
The permit holder will have to pay a subsistence fee every year and the amount to be paid will depend on the risk score of the premises.  The higher the risk the more you will pay.  See section on Fees for details on the charging scheme.  Further information on the risk rating scheme can be viewed in the document below.

Permit Reviews
We carry out regular reviews to check that the conditions detailed in your permit adequately cover activity at your premises and reflect the appropriate standards and the best available techniques.Permits are also reviewed if any new information is provided by the government about new techniques or the environmental effects of pollutants. If the conditions of your permit do need to be updated, we will issue your business with a variation notice.

Changes to installations
Varying a Permit If you decide to make a change(s) to the way your installation operates, you need to notify us in writing, 14 days before you make the change. We will then decide whether the proposed change(s) means the conditions of your permit need altered.

If the proposed change(s) is deemed a significant change to the permitted process, then we will issue a variation notice on the business which outlines all of the changes made to the permit.   If the operator requests a variation of the permit, the appropriate fee will be charged.

The council may decide at any time to vary the conditions of the Permit, for example, following a permit review in accordance with the PPC Regulations.

 Surrendering a Permit
If you intend to stop operating your installation (in whole or in part), you must tell us in writing. This correspondence should include the information specified in the PPC Regulations which includes:

  • the operator’s telephone number and address, and if different, any other correspondence address
  • in the case of a partial surrender of a permit, details of the plant and the machinery it applies to
  • the date when the permit will be surrendered.

The council may at any time revoke the permit in accordance with the PPC Regulations.

Transferring a permit or part of a permit
If the Permit is to be transferred to another person, in full or part, an application for a transfer must firstly be made.  This must be made by both the existing and the proposed permit holders. A transfer will be allowed, unless we believe that the proposed holder will not comply with the conditions of the transferred permit.

Reduced Operations
If your installation is being mothballed (the activity will temporarily cease to be carried on but the equipment necessary to carry on that activity is maintained to ensure that operation may be restored at a future date) or temporarily operating (or is going to operate) at a reduced capacity, below the threshold requiring a permit, you can make an application for a reduced operation.

Operators may wish to do this so they can keep their permit rather than surrender it and have to make a fresh permit application when the economic circumstances improve.

A reduced fee will be charged and reduced operations or mothballing can be carried on for between a 12 and 36 month period.

Other statutory obligations for a business
Businesses have a responsibility under workplace health and safety laws. However, this permit only relates to the requirements of PPC regulations. You must not use it to replace any responsibilities you have under workplace health and safety laws.

The permit does not detract from any other statutory requirements, including the need to obtain planning permission, hazardous substances discharge consent from the Department of the Environment, building regulation approval or certain waste disposal licence requirements.

PPC Public Register
The council holds a Public Register of information on PPC premises in the council area.  Please contact if you wish to view the Public Register.

Public Registers can be viewed at council offices between the hours of 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday.

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