EA give indication of intended Permitting fee changes

10 NOVEMBER 2017

There has been widespread speculation about the scale of fee increases likely to be included in the forthcoming EA Fee Review which is expected sometime this month (November). An indication of the likely increases has recently been revealed showing some rising as much as three times current charges.

The EA has long expressed frustration at the imbalance of fees related to the specific area they apply to and the time they spend on those activities. At the moment, for instance, the standard rules permit application fee does not take account of the need for a Fire Prevention Plan which is extremely time consuming for both the applicant and the Agency. And the main reason, it seems, that the Definition of Waste Panel was disbanded was their inability to recover fees on what had become extremely resource intensive activity.

However, industry is likely to react strongly to these increases, firstly through demands that the level of service from the EA needs to improve both in consistency and quality and secondly, that the scale of some of these increases will drive hard-pressed operators either out of regulation or out of business. And with the UK already suffering from an epidemic of illegal sites and large scale dumping, is this the right time to be applying those pressures?

To get assistance beyond the basic time allowance for permitting , the EA charges  of £125/hour already put potential operators off seeking advice on how to ensure they put together the best possible application. Will these sorts of fee increases simply exacerbate bad practice or see an overall improvement in the quality of site operations?