The Environmental Authorisations (Scotland) Regulations 2018aims to deliver an integrated authorisation framework, which will integrate, as far as possible, the authorisation, procedural and enforcement arrangements relating to:
- waste management;
- radioactive substances;
- pollution prevention and control.
The integrated authorisation framework is being developed in a phased manner, and currently, the regulations only apply to radioactive substances activities.
The framework has a key role in enabling us to deliver our regulatory strategy, One Planet Prosperity. It will help us to deliver proportionate, joined up, outcome focused regulation that significantly simplifies the regulatory landscape and reduces regulatory burden. This benefits SEPA, those we regulate and through supporting compliance, the environment.
Types of authorisation
There are a number of different types of authorisation available underthe regulations .Depending on the level of complexity and risk associated with an activity, the type of authorisation required will change to reflect that complexity or risk.
The four types of authorisation are:
General binding rules (GBRs)
General Binding Rules (GBRs) are a set of mandatory rules that cover specific low risk activities that are described in Schedule 9 of the regulations. If you intend to carry on an activity that is covered by GBRs, provided that you comply with the rules in full, you are authorised and do not need to apply for any other authorisation.
However, if you exceed the limit or cannot comply with the GBRs, you will need a different type of authorisation.
Some radioactive substances activities are covered by GBRs, details of which can be found within the regulations.
Notifications are used for low risk activities where we do not need to decide whether to grant or refuse an authorisation, but we do need to know that the activity is being carried out. Notifications may be associated with GBRs that must be complied with.
Registrations are for activities where a simple assessment or screening is sufficient for us to determine whether or not to allow the proposed activity to be carried out. If a registration is required, you will need to make an application to us.
Registrations only include standard conditions, which are a set of rules and limits that apply to a particular activity, and will be consulted on before they are made; however, once they have been made they cannot be appealed when used in a registration. If you are unable to comply with the standard conditions that apply to your activity you must apply for a permit instead.
Standard conditions are standard conditions and limits that we have consulted on and published. They can apply to a particular regulated activity, or part of a regulated activity. Standard conditions for radioactive substances activities are available, along with standard conditions guidance.
Permits are used for higher risk and/or non-standard activities which require us to carry out a more rigorous assessment before we can decide whether to grant or refuse a permit. Any activities that need assessment of adequate financial provision, bespoke conditions or involve a consultation process will be authorised under a permit. If a permit is required, you will need to submit an application to us.
Permits may contain a mixture of standard and bespoke conditions.
The type of authorisation required by a particular activity is set out in our Authorisation guide.
Guidance to support the implementation of the regulations
We have developed a number of guidance documents to support the implementation of the regulations..
The Environmental Authorisations (Scotland) Regulations 2018 will bring a common approach to public consultation for activities that require a permit. When and how we will consult will be set out in our public participation statement.
When granting an authorisation, we need to be confident that the person being authorised has sufficient control of the activity,and is able to make day-to-day operational and financial decisions to secure compliance with any conditions.
The guidance on who can hold an authorisation is for any person who applies for or holds a permit or registration under the Environmental Authorisations (Scotland) Regulations. It explains how SEPA will decide whether you are ‘in control’ of the regulated activity and whether you are a ‘fit and proper person’ to hold or continue to hold an environmental authorisation.