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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/decommissioning-onshore-oil-and-gas-wells-drilled-before-1-october-2013/decommissioning-onshore-oil-and-gas-wells-drilled-before-1-october-2013
Since 1 October 2013 you have needed a mining waste permit to manage the extractive waste from drilling and stimulating onshore oil and gas wells.
If you’re decommissioning a well drilled before 1 October 2013, and you comply with the conditions in this regulatory position statement (RPS), you do not need a mining waste permit to manage the extractive waste generated.
You do not currently need a permit under these specific circumstances because the Environment Agency has issued this temporary RPS.
You do not need to carry out groundwater monitoring following decommissioning if you comply with the conditions in this RPS.
Conditions you must comply with
- have drilled the well before 1 October 2013
- make sure there’s no evidence of pollution
- make sure there is not a waste facility for managing extractive waste at the well site
- make sure the well is a standalone site and is not part of a larger regulated facility, installation or mining waste operation
- make sure that the only extractive waste you’ll manage is directly associated with the well decommissioning operation (such as material extracted from the well bore before sealing and waste cement from the sealing process)
- notify the Environment Agency in advance, providing details on the location and depth of all wells you’ll decommission
You must not:
- use the well for associated hydraulic fracturing as defined in Section 50 of the Infrastructure Act
- be carrying out a groundwater activity
You must also comply with all other applicable legislation.
You must make sure your management of extractive waste does not endanger human health or the environment. You must not:
- cause a risk to water, air, soil, plants or animals
- cause a nuisance through noise or odours
- adversely affect the countryside or places of special interest
An RPS means that the Environment Agency will not normally take enforcement action against you if you have not applied for a permit, provided:
- your activity meets the description set out in this RPS
- you comply with the conditions set out in this RPS
- your activity does not, and is not likely to, cause environmental pollution or harm human health
When to check back
This RPS will be reviewed by 31 December 2019.
However, the Environment Agency may review this RPS before that date. Reasons for an early review include, but are not limited to, a misuse of this RPS or a pollution incident.
You’ll need to check back before using the RPS to see if it still applies.
Contact the Environment Agency
Contact the Environment Agency if you need help.
National Customer Contact Centre
PO Box 544
Telephone 03708 506 506
Telephone from outside the UK (Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm GMT) +44 (0) 114 282 5312
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm