Operators of installations that fall within set legislative requirements must obtain a permit to operate. Depending on the size of the operation the permit will either be dealt with by the Local Authority or for larger sites the Environment Agency. Permit applications must include a written description of the way in which pollution is to be minimised. Where a local authority decides to grant an installation a permit, that permit must include conditions stipulating how pollution is to be minimised. Government guidance has been published as to the appropriate pollution standards for various types of installation. The law requires the standards to achieve a balance between protecting the environment and the cost of so doing. The local authority is required to have regard to that guidance.
Operators can appeal where a permit application is refused or where it is granted but the operator disagrees with the conditions.
Once a permit is issued the operator must comply with the conditions.
Local authorities categorise installations according to the risk they represent (high, medium or low risk) based on the potential environmental impact in the event of an incident, and the effectiveness and reliability of the operator.
Where a business fails to comply with the Regulations, local authorities have the power to serve various types of notice and the power to prosecute. Where possible, however, authorities try to work with the operator to resolve problems.
Further information is available on Gov.uk