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Applying for an Environmental Permit: How Long Does it Take

19 August 2020

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In our blog published last week, Environmental Permitting and Remaining Compliant During COVID-19, we discussed why it is important to maintain environmental compliance during coronavirus with specific reference to compliance with the Environmental Permitting Regulations (England and Wales) 2016. Now that you understand when and why you might need a permit, it is important to understand how long it might take to obtain one.

Business as Usual

As cited in our 2016 blog environmental permitting, once a permit application is submitted, the Environment Agency (EA) aim to have it Duly Made within 12 weeks. If your permit application is Duly Made, it does not mean that you have been granted an environmental permit. Duly Made indicates that the EA have all the necessary information to be able to make a decision on whether or not they will grant you a permit.

Then, once your application has been Duly Made, the EA will begin the assessment process. During this time, your permit application will be made available for comment in the public domain. The EA may also need to consult other public bodies to assess whether your permit should be granted and whether there are any significant environmental impacts that will need to be managed. This process can take a further 13 weeks. However, it will take longer if there are extenuating circumstances such as a facility that is of high public interest.

New Normal

The current situation has meant that many organisations and business are operating to a new normal, this includes the EA. This has now meant that timelines for granting permit applications have changed. From our experience with recent submissions of permit applications and permit variation applications, the length of time between submitting the permit to it being Duly Made is now taking upwards of 6 months. However, this is only in situations where there are no extenuating circumstances. Due to the change in timelines, it is imperative to get your application together and submitted as soon as possible to ensure you are operating legally.

Figure 1 illustrates the timeline for a recently submitted permit variation application and Figure 2 shows the timeline for a recently submitted permit application.

Figure 1. Timeline for Permit Variation Application

Figure 2. Timeline for Permit Application

Do you think your organisation needs an environmental permit but don’t have the time to put towards completing the application? Please contact Martin Binnie at or on 0114 272 2270 for further information.

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