Introduction to environmental permits and licences
Types of environmental licences and permits
You may require authorisation, in the form of permits, licences, consents, registrations, notifications or exemptions, in order to carry out certain types of business activity. You must comply with the conditions that are part of the authorisation. These aim to control the impact of your activities on the environment.
In most cases, you'll need to apply to the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), which is the main environmental regulator in Northern Ireland. District councils and Northern Ireland Water are in charge of some types of authorisation.
Do I need an environmental licence or permit?
You will need authorisation if you:
- carry out certain listed activities at an installation or mobile plant, such as industrial activities, or carry out waste disposal or recovery activities, such as metals recycling or waste transfer stations
- discharge anything other than clean water into surface waters or groundwater
- discharge trade effluent into the public foul sewer
- take water from surface waters or groundwater, or obstruct them in any way
- transport waste, or arrange for someone else to do so
- produce or move hazardous waste
- keep, use or dispose of radioactive substances
- produce greenhouse gas emissions that are covered by emissions trading schemes