Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland
The aggregates levy is a tax on rock, gravel and sand that is extracted for sale in the UK.
The tax was introduced:
If you mine, quarry, dredge or import rock, gravel or sand for sale you must:
There are some exemptions, for example if you use limestone to produce lime or cement.
Mining and quarrying disturbs the land, plants and animals at the site. Closed mines can cause serious pollution from contaminated water in mine shafts, tailings dams, stockpiles, tips and mounds.
You must give notice to your environmental regulator at least six months before you close all or part of your mine, including any seam or shaft, or make major changes to the water management regime. This is required by legislation on abandoning mines. You can be fined if you do not give notice.
The Mining Waste Directive (MWD) brings in new requirements for managing extractive waste at mines and quarries, including closure and after-closure procedures.
What you must do when you close extractive waste sites and waste facilities will be explained in your planning permission.
Before you start closing your waste facility you must:
The DoE will inspect your site to check that you have met all the conditions in your planning permission. Your waste facility will only be officially closed when the DoE issues you with a final closure notice.
You will be responsible for maintaining, monitoring, controlling, reporting and carrying out corrective measures at your site even after it is officially closed for as long as the Department of the Environment requires. For example, you may be required to minimise leachate from the facility and prevent it from contaminating surface water or groundwater.
What you must do when you close extractive waste facilities will be explained in your planning permission.
Before you start closing your waste facility you must meet at least one of the following requirements. You must:
When you ask your planning authority to finally close your waste facility it will inspect your site and assess your reports on closing the mine.
If you have closed your extractive waste facility correctly your planning authority will:
Your waste facility will only be officially closed when your planning authority issues you with a written notice of closure.
You will be responsible for maintaining, monitoring, controlling, reporting and carrying out corrective measures at your site even after it is officially closed for as long as your planning authority requires. For example, you may be required to minimise leachate from the facility and prevent it from contaminating surface water or groundwater.
To find out more about the MWD requirements, see our guidance on extractive waste.
Prepare a plan for restoring the land and speak to your local community about possible uses of the site once you have stopped mining or quarrying - for example, for sporting facilities, wetlands, grasslands, woodlands, heathlands or parklands.
Use topsoil and overburden to restore the land in stages throughout the life of your mine or quarry.
Consider whether your mine is likely to flood when your operations have ended and, if so, what you will do to prevent pollution.
Prepare a plan for managing your site after your mine or quarry has closed, to include monitoring, draining, treating, seeding, planting, fertilising, watering, or otherwise preparing the land and water for its end use.
Extraction voids are holes you leave in the surface of the land or underground after you have removed minerals and waste rock.
The Mining Waste Directive (MWD) brings in new requirements for managing extractive waste, including managing extraction voids at mines and quarries.
This guidance applies to all mines or quarries in the UK that put extractive waste in extraction voids.
You must check with your regulator whether you need planning permission to put your extractive waste into an extraction void.
Managing extractive waste in Northern Ireland and Scotland
If you put extractive waste into extraction voids to rehabilitate your mine or quarry or to build or maintain access for machinery, haulage ramps, bulkheads, safety barricades or berms in the void, you must make sure:
You must not put extractive waste back into a void which will be flooded, unless your regulator has given you permission to do this.
Mining and quarrying disturbs the land, plants and animals at the site.
Your mine or quarry can play an important role in helping to conserve habitats and species. When you restore a site, you can provide new and sometimes rare habitats for plants and animals.
You must prevent or repair any damage your activities could have on:
If you have protected species on your site, you may need consent to move them. For further information, see our nature conservation guidance.
If your activities cause or could cause environmental damage to biodiversity, see our guidance on environmental damage to biodiversity.
Before you do anything to any tree at your site check with your local council, or local planning office in Northern Ireland, whether the trees are protected by a tree preservation order (TPO).
If you remove, prune, cut down, lop, top or ring bark a tree covered by a TPO without planning permission you are committing an offence.
If your site is in a conservation area the trees will automatically be protected.
You should check your site for:
For further information, see our invasive weeds guidance.
The Northern Ireland Environment Agency has published a short guide to the duty of care responsibilities including advice and information for waste producers, carriers and those accepting, storing and treating waste.
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We have recently updated and improved our guidance on Environmental Management Systems (EMS). You can find the guidance via the Environmental Topics tab or alternatively select the following link Environmental Management Systems (EMS).
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Any person intending to alter the use or management of areas of uncultivated or semi-natural land must obtain prior approval from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).
Read more on the DAERA website
NetRegs have produced a new leaflet for Scottish businesses explaining what you must do to comply with YOUR duty of care for waste.
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