If your business can affect the environment – for example by
causing air pollution through release of smoke, dust or solvent
fumes; or by creating water or land contamination – you probably
need an environmental permit. This is a requirement of the
Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010.
The permit sets out limits on the pollution your business can
make at your premises and from any mobile plant, and what you need
to do to prevent and control pollution.
- Summary of businesses needing an
the legislation for the full list
- Contact the
team to get our expert opinion
How to apply for an environmental permit
- You can apply by post – you complete the
application form, enclose the correct fee and post it back to us at
the address given on the form. To obtain the form, you can either
download the application form, apply
online, or contact the health and
environment team and we will post it to you.
- We will usually send an Environmental
Protection Officer to check your pollution control measures and
- If the council is satisfied that everything
is in order, we will issue you with the permit. You will only be
granted a permit if the council is sure that you will operate your
business in line with permit conditions.
What is the application fee?
The fees are set by Central Government. They change every year
and vary from one type of business to another.They also vary
depending on your environmental performance – this is calculated
using a risk assessment based on the outcome of inspection.
Check the Government’s current fee schedule.
How we deal with your application
The whole process of getting a permit is governed by
View the Government’s General Guidance Manual.
This Guidance Manual covers the whole environmental permitting
process. It gives a good overview of what you can expect from
Once we have received your application we will ensure that all
appropriate pollution prevention methods are taken, through the
best available techniques, and that no significant pollution is
caused. We will need you to provide information about your
pollution control equipment, methods and working practices.
We may need to advertise your application to the wider
community, to allow local residents to comment. We may also need to
consult other agencies - such as NHS Tower Hamlets, adjoining local
authorities or the Petroleum Inspectorate. What we have to do
depends largely on the nature of your business. We must consider
any comments made in relation to your application.
If we intend to attach an off-site condition to your permit we
will provide notice to you, or the owner, lessee or occupier of the
land if that is not you.
Although much of the content of any permit is set down in
Government guidance, you will always be given the opportunity to
comment on permit conditions. We want to work with businesses to
ensure that permits reflect real working practices and only impose
essential pollution controls.
Timescales for your application
Once your application is ‘duly made’ (there is
no missing information and you have paid the correct fee), the
legislation gives us four months to process your application
(except for dry cleaners and small waste oil burners, for which we
are allowed three months). If you have not received your permit
within that timescale, then the legislation allows you to assume it
has been refused and you can appeal (see below). Note that it is in
the public interest that the council must process your application
before it can be granted. If you have made an application for a
permit you can contact us at any time during the application
process – we are always very happy to help applicants or to answer
Complaints and appeals
If you application is refused, you should be clearly informed of
the reasons for this. If your application is approved with
conditions, you should have been able to comment on conditions when
your permit was being written. If after the process you still don’t
agree with what the permit imposes on your business, or you’re not
clear why it was refused, please contact us.
If you want to challenge this decision, we have an internal
complaints procedure, and you should use that first. Please contact
us and say that you want your complaint dealt with by a senior
manager. You can also lodge a
Corporate Complaint. Please note that you do
not have to use our internal procedure – you can go
straight to the legal appeal.
You also have the legal right to appeal against a decision to
Inspectorate. Appeals must be made in writing and give the
reasons for your appeal. The appeal time will vary dependent upon
the type of appeal. For a failed application or appeal against a
condition, the must appeal be made within six months of the
What do businesses have to do once they have an Environmental
You must comply with any conditions attached to a permit. Your
business will be regularly inspected to make sure you are
complying. Failure to comply may lead to enforcement action. You
have to pay an annual subsistence fee to keep your permit, which is
laid down by Central Government.
Complaints from the public or from other businesses
The public and other businesses may complain to the council
about pollution from a business, or they may inform us about
polluting activities. Environmental Protection Officers will
investigate and if permit conditions are being broken, enforcement
action may be taken.
Health and Environment Team
London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Mulberry Place (AH)
5 Clove Crescent
PO Box 55739
Tel: 020 7364
Fax: 020 7364 6831