Last reviewed 20 April 2021

Environment regulators have released guidance on how to develop a management system for carrying out activities under an environmental permit.

Environmental permits require a written management system, including a set of written procedures describing what organisations will do to minimise the risk of pollution from activities covered by the permit.

The amount of information needed in a management system depends on the complexity and risk associated with the permitted activities. Businesses applying for a standard rules permit and can meet all the requirements for that permit, do not need a risk assessment. Some low-risk waste activities also do not require a permit at the moment.

Other low-risk activities, such as a small sewage treatment works, need only a simple management system, while higher risk activities, such as chemical storage and complex industrial processes that need a more detailed risk assessment also need a more complex management system.

Businesses with complex operations requiring a number of permits can combine those permits into an overall management system, even where different permitted sites may have site-specific procedures.

For larger sites with more complex activities, such as waste operations dealing with hazardous waste, the Environment Agency prefers management systems that are based on a recognised standard and independently checked by an accredited body.

An environmental management system may be certified against a standard such as the international standard, ISO 14001, or the European Regulation, EMAS.

Organisations carrying out certification may be accredited by a National Accreditation Body such as the UK Accreditation Service (UKAS).

The Environment Agency’s guidance on management systems for environmental permits explains what to put in your management system, how to organise it and how to prepare site infrastructure plans.

Full details are available here.