There was a ‘continued improvement’ in compliance with environmental permits at sites regulated by the Environment Agency in 2012, according to a report.
Permits are issued to businesses to ensure that releases from a site to air, land and water do not cause pollution or harm. Compliance of sites is assessed by the Agency through the Operational Risk Appraisal (OPRA) scheme, which rates sites on performance from A-F, with A being good and F being poor. And, the report shows that a record 10,612 sites (78%) permitted by the Agency in 2012 were rated A compared to 76% the previous year. Meanwhile, 401 sites (3%) were rated D, E or F.
Despite this improvement, however, businesses involved in waste storage, treatment, transfer and use, landfill, biowaste and energy-from-waste (EfW) activities accounted for 92% of the band D, E or F sites in 2012.
With regards to ‘persistent poor performers’ – 75 waste activity sites have been in bands D, E and F for three years – the Environment Agency said it was working with these companies to improve performance where they pose a risk to people or the environment.
The Agency processed over 99% of permit applications within 13 weeks in 2012, issuing 169,496 permits between April and December 2012. Of these, 321 permits took longer than 13 weeks to determine.