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Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN HL5952, tabled on 3 February 2022

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the speed with which the Environment Agency considers permits for recycling plants, and (2) the extent to which the Environment Agency consents to permits in time for projects to proceed.

Answered on

18 February 2022

Environmental permitting regulations specify statutory timescales for the Environment Agency (EA) to consider permit applications and the EA also has its own performance measures and is subject to corporate reporting.

The EA communicates with operators through sector bodies and on individual applications about its timescales to enable them to make their applications in time for projects to proceed. The EA also provides an enhanced pre-application service to applicants which helps improve application quality and applicants’ understanding about the time it will take to obtain a decision. The EA also works with applicants to consider prioritising applications that are time-sensitive or critical. Environmental permits are often one of a number of permissions and measures that an operator will need in place prior to commencing a project.

To fulfil the EA’s statutory duties, it must be satisfied that the risk to the environment and communities from proposed activities is minimised and managed. Activities that are higher in risk, complex, or novel take longer to determine.