PPC Part A activities

If you intend applying for a Part A permit or hold a permit already, this section will guide you through your obligations.

Part A activities are those listed under Part A within Schedule 1 of the Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations 2012 (PPC 2012).

These are generally larger industrial activities, potentially involving discharges to land, air and water, and include activities such as energy production, mineral activities, fertiliser production and certain types of waste management.

Operators of Part A activities require a PPC permit in order to be able to undertake their activity.

Before you make any application - whether for a new permit, variation, transfer or surrender – you should:

  • Check that you are required to make an application and understand the requirements of the legislation.
  • Read through the relevant application form(s) and its associated technical guidance documents.

In partnership with the Scottish Government, we have produced a comprehensive guidance document which explains the regulations and the obligations of operators of Part A activities in depth.

How do I know if I need a permit?

Activities requiring a permit are listed in Schedule 1of the PPC 2012 regulations. 

If you undertake one of the listed activities and are not yet permitted, or are unsure as to whether an activity description applies to your particular enterprise, it is important that you contact your local SEPA office in the first instance. 

Our staff will assist you in determining whether you are a Part A activity, a Part B activity or are not covered by the regulations and, therefore, not required to be permitted.

How do I make a new application?

Before making any application for a Part A PPC permit, it is strongly recommended that you contact us to discuss your application. These discussions will help inform you about the permitting process, the types of information you will have to provide and the types of controls that will be included in your permit.

You must ensure you have a permit before your activity commences and comply with all the requirements of PPC 2012 when your permit is issued.

The PPC 2012 regulations have extended the scope of Part A activities, meaning that operators of these new activities, detailed in the table below, are required to make applications for a permit in order to continue their operation. A phased application window system was put in place for these new activities, which has now come to an end. Where an installation was already permitted under PPC 2000 for any of the activities detailed within the timetable, there was no requirement to reapply for a new permit.

Block Activity
Block 1 Food and drink sector sites (PPC 2012 Schedule
1, Section 6.8, Part A, paragraph (d)(ii) & (iii) )
Block 2 Waste sector sites (PPC 2012 Schedule 1, Section 5.1, Section 5.3 Part A, Section 5.4 Part A paragraph (a)(iii) to (v), Section 5.4 Part A paragraph (b), Section 5.6 Part A paragraph (a) and Section 5.6 Part A paragraph (b))
Block 3 Wood preservation sites (PPC 2012 Schedule 1, Section 6.6, Part A)
Block 4

Independently operated waste water treatment sites (PPC 2012, Schedule 1, Section 5.7, Part A), sites gasifying or liquefying fuels other than coal in installations with a total rated thermal input of 20MW or more (PPC 2012, Schedule 1, Section 1.2, Part A, paragraph
(c)(ii)), sites in the chemical industry concerning production by biological processing(PPC 2012, Schedule 1,Sections 4.1 to 4.6), sites producing oriented strand board, particleboard or fibreboard with a production capacity exceeding 600m3 per day (PPC 2012, Schedule 1, Section 6.1, Part A, paragraph (c))

All permit application forms can be found on our application forms webpage.

Applications should be completed in conjunction with reference to our guidance for applicants.

Operators making an application should also refer to the relevant European Commission BAT Reference Documents and conclusions for your activity, as well as additional relevant guidance and UK Technical Guidance.

New applications are subject to charges, as defined by activity in the Pollution Prevention and Control (Parts A and B) Fees and Charges (Scotland) Scheme.

Applications under consideration

  • Certain categories of application fall into special cases under the regulations: if you applied for a PPC permit before 7 January 2013 and the determination of the application was incomplete before 7 January 2014, then you may need to supply us with additional information to ensure your application is compliant with the regulations before a permit can be issued.
  • If you were granted a permit before 7 January 2014, but the installation has not been operational since the permit was granted, then the permit is suspended until such time as we give notice to the operator that the permit is sufficiently compliant.

Operators of plant falling under either of these two special cases have been notified by their site inspector as to the next steps to take.

Existing permit holders

From 7 January 2014, the PPC 2012 regulations expand the requirements on installations that currently hold a Part A permit.

The regulations aim to remove ambiguities and inconsistencies, ensure clearer environmental benefits, promote cost-effectiveness and encourage technological innovation, but the powers and provisions remain largely the same as the PPC 2000 regulations.

In January 2014, we issued a communication to existing permit holders summarising the main changes to the regulations:

  • Activity descriptions in schedule 1 may have changed, however their intended meaning is largely the same. New activity descriptions have been introduced by IED and a few activity descriptions have been removed from PPC control (operators of these activities have already been contacted).
  • There are provisions to take account of the new emphasis from IED on BAT Reference documents and BAT conclusions
  • We have new powers to serve an enforcement notice in the event of an incident which gives rise to serious pollution and where there is no breach of a permit condition, meaning that operators must suspend operation immediately. Additional guidance on this will be available in due course
  • Operators must notify us immediately of any breach of a permit condition.
  • We must now receive results of emissions monitoring and certain other information needed to assess compliance on at least an annual basis.
  • The IED provides for greater public participation and so more information needs to be placed on the internet including permits, variations and inspection reports.
  • Solvents activities are described in schedule 2 of the regulations. If the activity is only described in schedule 2, there will no longer be a requirement to comply with BAT –  this will apply to only nine activities, as well as dry cleaners as most solvents activities are also described in schedule 1.
  • We have a new duty to promote the development and application of emerging techniques.
  • There is no longer provision for Part A mobile plant. Although this was theoretically available previously, in practice it was unwieldy and impractical.
  • Fit and proper person provisions relating to specified waste management activities have been amended.
  • As well as site reports, there are now provisions for baseline reports relating to ground contamination. This may apply when a review or substantial takes place. Additional guidance will be made available in due course.
  • Circumstances under which a suspension notice can be issued have been expanded.
  • Changes to installations operating waste incineration activities and large combustion plant.

Additional conditions have been inserted into existing permits to implement some of these changes. The conditions are in Part 3 of Schedule 10 of the PPC 2012 regulations.

How do I vary, transfer or surrender an existing permit?

To vary, transfer or surrender a permit, please complete the appropriate forms on our application forms webpage and return them to the registrar at the appropriate area office, as stated on the application form, along with the relevant fee.

For help with your application, please refer to our guidance entitled Part A Installations: guide for applicants.

You will also need to read the relevant UK Technical Guidance to which the guidance refers.

How long does it take to process an application?

The regulations set down statutory periods following receipt of an application, within which we will normally reach a decision:

  • New permit applications – four months.
  • An application for a variation – four months if consultation is undertaken under the terms of the regulations and three months in other cases.
  • An application for a transfer – two months.
  • An application for surrender – three months.

Permit reviews

We must ensure your permit is reviewed and continues to comply with requirements within four years of the date of publication of the Best Available Techniques (BAT) conclusions document relating to your permit.

Scheduled reviews and links to the BAT reference documents are published according to the European Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Bureau (EIPPCB)’s timetable and additional guidance will be issued in due course.

If there is no BAT reference document available for your activity, then a periodic review of your permit will take place and any new conditions will be based on conditions including previous BAT reference documents available, any other relevant technical guidance and general principles of BAT described in schedule 3 of the PPC 2012 regulations as we determine.

We will contact permit holders before any review take place.

The Public Participation Directive

The Public Participation Directive (PPD) allows members of the public to become involved in the permitting process regulated by PPC 2012.

Consultation with the public can affect the way in which we determine and issue applications for permits and how we regulate some business activities. It is an important aspect for consideration when applying for or renewing a permit.

The PPD page of our website gives more details about the process and what operators should be aware of.

Guidance and application forms

Further relevant information on Part A of PPC 2012 is available within our guidance and application forms page.

Contact us

For more information about any aspect of Part A of PPC2012, please contact us.