environmental-permitting-regulations-2010
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Environmental Permitting Regulations 2010 [SI 675]

The Radioactive Substances Act 1993 (RSA93) was repealed on 6th April 2010 to allow radioactive substance regulation to be brought in to the Environmental Permitting regime.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. Arrangements in Scotland and Northern Ireland will stay as they are.

Much of what was contained in the RSA93 appears in Schedule 23 of the EPR2010. There is  no substantial change in the Government's regulatory policy for radioactive substances or in the Environment Agency's regulatory practice. However, whilst the conditions and limitations attached to licences issued under RSA93 will remain unchanged, the current Exemption Orders (made under the Act) are under review by DECC. It is expected that, once the review is completed, the revised exemptions shall be included in the Regs by amending schedule 23 accordingly, probably towards the end of this year.

Existing Registrations and Authorisations automatically became 'environmental permits' – you do not need to apply to convert them and current licences continue to be valid.

Notable changes introduced by the EPR for radioactive substance users are:-

  • Three types of permit will be 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 under the RSA93.

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.

If you currently have a RSA93 permit relating to sealed sources, there is no requirement from 6th April 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
www.environment-agency.gov.uk/business/sectors/32481.aspx

Further detail will become clear once the guidance becomes available.


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