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 is in effect a licence allowing the holder to operate a process subject to certain conditions which must be met.
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 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.
View a full list of industry sectors which may require a Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC) Permit.
List of industry sectors requiring a permit
Each industrial process which is regulated by this regime 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 these Process Guidance Notes and relevant Government Guidance.
The Charging Scheme for Pollution Prevention and Control Premises has been laid down in Charging Scheme Legislation 2013. A summary of the fees can be viewed in the document below.
PPC Charging Scheme 2015-2016
You must be a fit and proper person to carry out the activity your application relates to.
Application Evaluation Process
Applying for a Permit
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. PPC Application Guidance
The fee to apply for a permit varies, depending on the business you have or intend to operate.
The district 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 district 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 the Environment 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
After we receive your completed application, it will be reviewed by the Council. Within 14 days if all the required information has been supplied we will advise 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, must be made available so members of the public can comment or object before any permit is granted. This means a copy of the application and associated documentation will be placed on the Public Register within the Council and you will be required to advertise your application request in a local newspaper (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 and the maximum fine is £50,000 and the person responsible could also face up to 6 months in prison.
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 6 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. Any business operating without a permit can be fined up to £50,000 and the person responsible could also face up to six months in prison.
Forms to Download, Print & Post
If applying by post you should make three copies of your application form before returning it along with the appropriate fee and any associated documents required to the address above.
Application for a Permit
Application for a Permit (Dry Cleaners)
Application for a Permit (Petrol Stations)
Application for a Permit (Vehicle Refinishing)
Application for a Permit (Small Waste Oil Burners)
The fees for dry cleaners, petrol stations, vehicle refinishers and small waste oil burners are reduced and are known as ‘reduced-fee activities’.
Post the completed form to Environmental Health Department, Palace Demesne, Armagh, BT60 4EL.
The application must be submitted along with the appropriate fee.
You can also request a copy of the application form by calling us on 028 3752 9626 and post the completed form to Environmental Health Department, Palace Demesne, Armagh, BT60 4EL.
Failed Application & Licence Holder Redress
Please contact your district council in the first instance.
You may appeal against the decision of a district 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.
Anyone who wants to appeal against certain decisions made by the Council can do so to the Planning Appeals Commission (PAC).
For more information on appeals view the document below:
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). If that has not worked, if you are located in the UK, Consumer Direct will give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.
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.
2013 Risk Rating Scheme Explanatory Note
We carry out reviews every few years 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.
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.