Guide

Environmental permits and licences - an overview

Pollution prevention and control permits and waste management licences

Pollution prevention and control (PPC) permits and waste management licences regulate business activities that could have an impact on the environment or human health.

PPC permits

You may require a PPC permit from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) or your district council because of the type and size of the activities your business carries out. For example, you may need a PPC permit if your business carries out:

  • energy activities, such as combustion and refining
  • metals production and processing
  • mineral activities, such as production of cement, lime, glass and ceramics
  • production of chemicals, including fertilisers and pharmaceuticals
  • waste activities, such as operating a landfill site or incinerator
  • activities involving the use of solvents, such as coating, printing and dry cleaning

You must comply with the conditions of your permit or you could be fined or even sent to prison.

Waste management licences and exemptions

You may need a waste management licence from NIEA, for example if you:

  • store other people's waste
  • treat waste, carry out recycling or use waste mobile plants
  • carry out final disposal of waste

You are unlikely to need a licence if you only store waste that you produce and an authorised waste carrier removes it from your site regularly. However, you must check that anyone who handles your waste has the correct permit, licence or exemption.

Your activity may qualify for an exemption from waste management licensing. Whether you need a licence or to register an exemption will depend on:

  • how long you store waste
  • the types and quantities of wastes that you handle
  • the activities carried out on your site

If your activity is exempt, you may still need to register it with NIEA. You will still need to comply with controls to prevent pollution and harm to human health.