Government issues response to the 2018 Exemption consultation

Feb 6, 2023

It’s been a long time coming, but following a consultation on changes to the Exemption regime in England and Wales, the Government has finally published their consultation response. This will see some highly significant changes to the existing system, both in terms of overall controls and in terms of specific exemptions. Because the Environmental Permitting Regulations will have to be amended, the changes won’t come into force until 2024 and there is no indication in the response documents as to how the changes will be enforced – for instance, how long a grace period will be applied. But for anyone who operates under Exemptions, even if they also have a permit, then it is advised that these documents should be read very carefully.

The reforms will mean operators of some exempt activities will need to stop, change what they are doing or obtain an environmental permit.

No changes will come into force until the Environmental Permitting Regulations are amended. We don’t expect amendments to EPR before 2024 and timescales will depend on Parliamentary time, etc. Some of the changes include transitional periods to allow industry time to adjust. 

The two documents that should be read in detail are as follows:

Supplementary Government Responses – Explaining the reasons for the all the proposed changes.

Annexes – listing all the Exemptions that are due to be amended or removed, comapring current to the future.

The text below is from an EA email earlier today.

The key changes are: 

Other changes include:

  • new rules which will be relevant to all exempt holders, for example on record keeping and for sites with multiple registered exemptions 
  • new rules on registering exemptions at or adjacent to permitted sites 
  • changes to waste codes within other exemptions and removal of codes ending in ‘99’

Please review the DEFRA response for further details of the changes. 

We have over 125,000 exemption registrations in England. We will be contacting exempt holders directly this spring to ask them to review their exemptions and deregister what they do not need. We will follow this with information on the reforms and FAQs to help exempt holders get ready for the changes. 

We will continue engaging with you and exempt holders directly over the coming weeks and months and welcome your support in communicating the forthcoming changes to your members.