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Surrendering an authorisation

Surrender of an authorisation

We wish to encourage operators to surrender authorisations (in whole or in part) when they are no longer needed.

For charging purposes, we categorise an application for the surrender (in whole or in part) of an authorisation into one of three types:

  • administrative,
  • standard,
  • substantial.

The application charges largely depend on the amount of technical work we may have to carry out in order to approve the application.

Full guidance and examples of each type of surrender can be viewed within Section 3.6.6. of the charging scheme guidance document here.

Application forms for surrender/ partial surrender can be found here.


The table below gives a summary of these types and the level of application charges* that will apply:

Surrender Type


Surrender Application Charge*

(% of the application charge for new activity)


Where an authorisation is no longer required and where SEPA will not undertake technical work to assess the surrender or where the surrender is considered to deliver an environmental service

(as detailed in section 6.4.




Examples include:


·       the surrender of a PPC activity which does not require any assessment of the condition of the site.

·       the surrender of a discharge or abstraction activity which has no implications for any downstream uses.

·       the partial or total removal of an activity (for example a barrier) if it falls into the definition of an environmental service.


Note the surrender of a WML cannot ever be considered an administrative surrender as a site visit is required in all cases.




Where an authorisation is no longer required and where SEPA must carry out technical work in order to determine the application.


Examples include:


·       where SEPA will carry out a simple risk assessment by a site visit or desk-based assessment.


·       all partial surrenders for construction runoff licences.




Where an authorisation is no longer required and where SEPA must carry out significant technical work in order to determine the application.


The scale of technical work should be comparable or exceeds the amount involved in determining an application.


Examples include:


·       the surrender of some landfill authorisations involving substantial work to assess the condition of the site (such as the long-term environmental impacts of continuing emissions and legacy issues).

·       ceasing the operation of a large interconnected hydro scheme

·       ceasing a large abstraction from a deep borehole





*  please always check the latest situation regarding charges here: Charging schemes and summary charging booklets

If you have any queries about the surrender process or the application charge which should apply please contact ( or or for advice.