Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Pollution prevention and control permits and waste management licences

Pollution prevention and control (PPC) permits and waste management licences regulate business activities that could have an impact on the environment or human health.

PPC permits

You may require a PPC permit because of the type and size of the activities your business carries out. You can apply for a PPC permit:

  • In Northern Ireland, from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) or your district council
  • In Scotland from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

For example, you may need a PPC permit if your business carries out:

  • energy activities, such as combustion and refining
  • metals production and processing
  • mineral activities, such as production of cement, lime, glass and ceramics
  • production of chemicals, including fertilisers and pharmaceuticals
  • waste activities, such as operating a landfill site or incinerator
  • activities involving the use of solvents, such as coating, printing and dry cleaning.

You must comply with the conditions of your permit or you could be fined or even sent to prison.

PPC Permits

Waste management licences and exemptions

You may need a waste management licence from the NIEA or SEPA, for example if you:

  • store other people's waste
  • treat waste, carry out recycling or use waste mobile plants
  • carry out final disposal of waste.

You are unlikely to need a licence if you only store waste that you produce and an authorised waste carrier removes it from your site regularly. However, you must check that anyone who handles your waste has the correct permit, licence or exemption.

Your activity may qualify for an exemption from waste management licensing. Whether you need a licence or to register an exemption will depend on:

  • how long you store waste
  • the types and quantities of wastes that you handle
  • the activities carried out on your site.

If your activity is exempt, you may still need to register it with the NIEA or SEPA. You will still need to comply with controls to prevent pollution and harm to human health.

Waste management licences

Further information

Contact your environmental regulator

In this Guideline

Types of environmental licence

Pollution prevention and control permits and waste management licences

Authorisations and consents for discharges

Trade effluent consents and agreements

Water abstraction and impoundment authorisations

Waste carrier, broker and dealer registration

Hazardous/special waste notifications

Radioactive substances authorisations

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NIEA - Apply online

SEPA - Application forms