Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Types of environmental licence

Types of environmental licence

You may require authorisation, in the form of permits, licences, consents, registrations, notifications or exemptions, in order to carry out certain types of business activity. You must comply with the conditions that are part of the authorisation. These aim to control the impact of your activities on the environment.

In most cases, you'll need to apply to either:

  • In Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA). District councils and water companies are in charge of some types of authorisation.
  • In Scotland, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). Water companies are in charge of some types of authorisation.

You will need authorisation if you:

  • carry out certain listed activities at an installation or mobile plant, such as industrial activities, or carry out waste disposal or recovery activities, such as metals recycling or waste transfer stations

- see the page in this guideline: Pollution prevention and control permits and waste management licences

  • discharge anything other than clean rainwater into surface waters or groundwater

- see the page in this guideline: Authorisations and consents for discharges

  • discharge trade effluent into the public foul sewer

- see the page in this guideline: Trade effluent consents and agreements

take water from surface waters or groundwater, or obstruct them in any way

- see the page in this guideline:  Water abstraction and impoundment authorisations

  • transport waste, or arrange for someone else to do so

- see the page in this guideline: Waste carrier, broker and dealer registration

  • produce or move hazardous/special waste

- see the page in this guideline: Hazardous/special waste notification

  • keep, use or dispose of radioactive substances

- see the page in this guideline: Radioactive substances certificates

  • produce greenhouse gas emissions that are covered by the European Union emissions trading system or the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme.

- see our guidelines: EU emissions trading scheme, The CRC energy efficiency scheme and ESOS

Further information

Contact your environmental regulator

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NIEA - Apply online

SEPA - Application forms