24 Jan Environment Agency’s Rivenhall Briefing Notes
“Our role at the Environment Agency is to protect and enhance the environment. We would not permit any operation that we know would cause harm to the environment or people’s health. We assess permit applications (including variations) thoroughly to make sure that all aspects that could affect the environment and human health are addressed to a rigorous standard.”
What sort of consultation comments from the public can we take into account?
We can consider comments on any aspects that we need to assess when deciding whether to vary the conditions of an environmental permit. The main aspects are:
- the location of local receptors, wildlife, habitats, local weather conditions, and any planned projects such as new housing or industry;
- emissions from the operation of the facility including the quantity and the predicted impacts on human health and the environment; including air; water; land; noise and odour;
- emission control techniques;
- monitoring of emissions;
- the proposed techniques including whether any alternative techniques have been considered and whether this is the right one for the process;
- energy usage efficiency and energy generation efficiency;
- raw material use;
- minimisation of waste generated by the process, and the recovery, recycling or disposal of this waste;
- the condition of the soil and groundwater below the site; and
- the potential for accidents (in terms of the risk to the environment rather than on workers which is covered by the Health and Safety Executive).
Some of the above considerations are more relevant to the consideration of a new permit application. However, the principle remains that we will consider any consultation responses that are relevant for deciding whether a variation application would either increase, decrease or not change the environmental impact of an already permitted facility (as in the case of the Rivenhall IWMF).
What sort of consultation comments are we not able to take into account?
- views expressing whether waste incineration is the right solution to deal with waste in the area (this is considered by the planning authority);
- any activities relating to the incinerator outside of the site boundary, such as potential increased traffic; and
- the visual impact of the incinerator.
Our role at the Environment Agency is to protect and enhance the environment. We would not permit any operation that we know would cause harm to the environment or people’s health. We assess permit applications (including variations) thoroughly to make sure that all aspects that could affect the environment and human health are addressed to a rigorous standard. Finally, we have suitably qualified and experienced officers who carry out this technical assessment.
Only if we are satisfied that the proposed operations will not cause harm, and all the correct technologies are in place to protect the environment and people’s health; would an operator be issued with a varied permit?