The Radioactive Substances Act 1993 (RSA93) was repealed on 6th April 2010 to allow radioactive substance regulation to be brought in to the Environmental Permitting regime. This second phase of the Environmental Permitting Programme (EPP2) is a ‘Better Regulation’ initiative designed to reduce costs for operators and the regulator by cutting unnecessary red tape, while continuing to protect the environment and human health.
The programme creates a common system of risk-based environmental permitting and compliance for an extended range of regimes. These include:
- Water Discharge consents: Permits to control certain discharges to surface water;
- Groundwater Authorisations: Permits to control the disposal of specific substances into groundwater, and;
- Radioactive Substances Regulation: Permits for keeping and use of radioactive materials, and for accumulation and disposal of radioactive waste.
The changes are only made in England and Wales. On 1 September 2018, the Environmental Authorisations (Scotland) Regulations 2018 (EA(S)R) came into force for radioactive substances activities in Scotland.
Much of what was contained in the RSA93 appears in Schedule 23 of the EPR2016. There is no substantial change in the Government’s regulatory policy for radioactive substances or in the Environment Agency’s regulatory practice. The conditions and limitations attached to licences issued under RSA93 remain largely unchanged, as do many of the Exemptions.
Existing Registrations and Authorisations automatically became ‘environmental permits’.
Notable changes introduced by the EPR for radioactive substance users are:-
- Three types of permit are issued:
– Standard permit, as a replacement for the fixed condition registration.
– Security permit, for sealed source use and waste management.
– Publicly available permit, for open source use and waste management.
- Permits may be transferred between operators, for example when one company takes over another.
- If you cease to use radioactive substances you will need to formally surrender a permit by making an application to the EA. The requirement for conducting a clearance survey will remain, as previously.
There are new application forms and a range of EA guidance to explain how the new regime works (in preparation – expected by end April). Also, the EA have changed the way they charge for applications and for annual subsistence.
There is no longer a requirement to post that licence on the premises, and users are encouraged not to do so for security reasons.
The full text of the Regs is available at:
The Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016
Guidance (Defra and EA) is found at:
Guidance on the scope of and exemptions from the radioactive substances legislation in the UK
Further detail will become clear once the guidance becomes available.
Current Environment Agency application forms for RSR* Permits:
EA fees and charges: