Guidance for applicants

This page provides guidance and links to further information for applicants.

To operate an energy from waste facility, you must apply to us for a permit under the Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations 2012 (PPC 2012).

We recommend that, before applying, you do the following:

  • speak to SEPA to establish what we will be looking for;
  • consider early engagement with the local community.

Pollution prevention and control guidance

When determining an application for a permit under the PPC Regulations, SEPA’s main aim is to ensure that the facility is operated in such a way that human health and the environment are protected from any emission. We will also require that energy is recovered with a high degree of efficiency.

You must take account of Best Available Techniques (BAT) and our Thermal Treatment of Waste Guidelines 2014 pdf link (566k) when describing the proposed activity and its environmental impact. You will also be required to advertise the application in a local newspaper and the Edinburgh Gazette.

The application will be subject to statutory consultation, which includes the requirement for public participation.

How to make an application

The relevant regulations are the Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations 2012 (PPC 2012). Guidance is available in our practical guide and guide to applicants, this guidance will be updated for the new regulations but should still be useful for new applicants.

When assessing an application, SEPA looks for the following information*:

  • description of activities
  • raw material use
  • emissions information
  • environmental impacts assessment including health impacts
  • technique being used for recovering energy
  • demonstration that Best Available Technique (BAT) will be used
  • monitoring emissions and off site impacts
  • waste management
  • noise level reduction plans
  • baseline site report
  • energy efficiency
  • non technical summary.

*This information is required under Schedule 4, paragraph (1)(1) of the PPC (Scotland) Regulations.

Additional information required for Incineration or co-incineration plant applications includes:

  • the plant is the Waste Incineration Directive (WID) compliant;
  • energy is recovered;
  • minimising residues
  • residues disposal plans 
  • measurement of emissions to air.

Technical guidance

Energy Efficiency

The Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2011 came into force on 27 March and insert a new Regulation 9F into the Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations 2000 (as amended).

“Conditions of permits: incineration or co-incineration with energy recovery

9F.—(1) SEPA shall ensure that any permit granted or varied on or after 27th March

2011 authorising the incineration or co-incineration of waste with energy recovery contains conditions ensuring that the recovery of energy takes place with a high level of energy efficiency.”

SEPA considers that for plants up to 300,000 tonnes per annum that meeting the energy efficiency requirements of the Thermal Treatment of Waste Guidelines 2014 pdf link (566k) will be sufficient to meet this statutory requirement. Links to guidance on CHP QA are available. For plants greater than 300,000 tonnes per annum you should contact SEPA.

Air modelling

Air modelling can be used to investigate the potential impacts of emissions to the atmosphere. SEPA strongly recommends that an air modelling method statement is submitted to SEPA in advance of any modelling work being carried out. This has the advantage of agreeing the methods and input parameters in advance, and will save time and money for the applicants and SEPA.

A method statement should include:

  • Choice of model to be used.
  • Pollutants of interest and air quality standards/objectives that model results will assessed against.
  • Background concentrations to be used.
  • Emission parameters, to include:
    • stack location;
    • stack height;
    • stack diameter;
    • exit temperature;
    • efflux velocity or flow rate (actual);
    • emission concentrations;
    • calculated emission rate.
  • Meteorology to be used (including years to be modelled, percentage of calm periods in data and where it has been sourced from).
  • Buildings to be included in model.
  • Terrain to be included in model.
  • Grid domain, resolution and locations of sensitive receptors.
  • Scenarios to be modelled.
  • Model output formats to be presented.
  • Any other special treatments which may be required to be assessed.

SEPA does not prescribe any particular model, but the model should be:

  • fit for purpose;
  • based on established scientific principles;
  • be validated and independently reviewed;
  • have a full technical specification with validation and review documents available.

There are currently two leading models being used for regulatory purposes in UK. These are ADMS (Air Dispersion Modelling System) developed by Cambridge Environmental Research Consultants (CERC) and AERMOD developed by US Environmental Protection Agency.  Both are widely used by consultants and familiarity with both of these models is required for evaluations of external modelling reports and in recent applications, both ADMS and AERMOD have been used to examine the potential impacts of Energy from Waste plants on local air quality.

Human health impact assessment

As described above any application for a PPC permit will require to include a Human Health Impact Assessment.

This should follow the methodology provided in the Assessment of Environmental Legislative and Associated Guidance Requirements for Protection of Human Health pdf link (468k) published by SNIFFER in 2007 and the 2003 version of the Horizontal Guidance on assessing environmental impact.

Additional information on soil deposition rates and guideline values etc can be found here.