Environment Agency fees and charges

Details of revised fees and charges including information on how to pay.

Environment Agency charges

You may have to pay an Environment Agency charge to cover the costs of regulating your activity. The amount you pay depends on the activity you carry out and the regulations that apply to you.

The Environment Agency consults with customers before making any changes to their charges. Environment Agency charges are approved by government ministers.

Changes to Environment Agency charging

The Environment Agency recently reviewed many of their charges. They consulted with customers between 29 November 2017 and 26 January 2018 on their proposed new charges.

As a result of the review, charges for these regulatory regimes have changed:

  • Environmental Permitting
  • Control of Major Accident Hazard (COMAH)
  • EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS)
  • Producer Responsibility for Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)
  • Water Resources

Charges for other regulatory regimes were not included in the review and these have not changed.

As part of the consultation, the Environment Agency also asked for customers’ views on the future of:

  • navigation services charges
  • the water abstraction licence charging system

They’ll use the comments received to help develop their thinking on future charges for these regulatory regimes.

The consultation response document explains how the Environment Agency addressed customer comments when setting their new charges.

Environmental permitting - new supplementary charges

A significant change for Environmental permitting is that the Environment Agency has introduced extra (supplementary) charges that some customers will need to pay on top of the fixed application and annual subsistence charges.

These supplementary charges will only apply if the Environment Agency needs to do extra or unusual regulatory work. This could either be when determining a permit application or after a permit has been issued.

Charges for this extra work will either be a fixed cost or calculated on a time and materials basis.

You will pay a fixed cost supplementary charge when extra work is needed to support a permit application. For example, at some sites the Environment Agency will need to assess an odour management plan, or for intensive farming installations, a dust and bio-aerosols management plan.

Operators with a waste transfer or treatment permit will pay a fixed cost supplementary charge in the first year of operations.

You will pay time and materials supplementary charges when it is hard to predict the amount of work the Environment Agency will need to do. This is so the hourly costs of the officers and equipment involved can be recovered in full.

Time and materials supplementary charges will apply in these cases, where extra work is needed to:

  • determine a permit application - for example, for sites of high public interest
  • bring a site with a permit back into compliance after an unplanned event - such as a pollution incident or issuing a suspension notice
  • assess or approve information submitted by the operator to meet a condition in their permit - for example if you need to produce an odour management plan or fire prevention plan after your permit has been issued

You can find more information about time and materials charges in the Environmental permitting charges guidance.

Flood risk activities changes

The Environment Agency has introduced different categories of charges for flood risk activities. The new charges will still be fixed costs, but there will be higher charges according to an activity’s risk category. If you need help to understand your charge, contact your local team.

Phone: 03708 506 506


Changes to optional advice services

The Environment Agency also reviewed charges for their optional advice services. As a result, they have changed or introduced charges for:

  • planning advice
  • marine licensing advice
  • definition of waste opinions

When charges will change

Most of the new charges applied from 1 April 2018.

New charges for the WEEE scheme, for the 2019 compliance period, started on 1 January 2019.

Specific supplementary charges for environmental permitting were introduced from 1 October 2018. These are:

  • application charges for sites of high public interest
  • time and materials charging after a pollution incident and for assessing information submitted to meet a permit condition

Find out more about current charges using the links in the following sections.

Abstraction charges

The Environment Agency has made one change to abstraction charges as a result of the review. The River Alre is being removed from the list of supported sources.

The Environmental Improvement Unit Charge rate for the Thames regional charging area has also changed. The Environment Agency consulted on this change before the review.

You can find details of these changes in the Abstraction Charging Scheme which applied from 1 April 2018.

Climate change agreement charges

Climate change agreement charges have not changed as a result of the recent review of charges. See details of the current charges.

COMAH charges

The hourly rate charged for work related to COMAH sites has increased to £161 an hour. The previous rate had not changed for a number of years. An increase is needed so the Environment Agency can move closer towards full cost recovery for this work.

The Environment Agency has introduced new charges to recover the costs of their work exercising external emergency plans. These charges will be passed on to operators through their local authority. The charge is £84 an hour.

CRC charges

CRC charges have not changed as a result of the recent review of charges. See details of the current charges.

Definition of waste service charges

The Environment Agency are introducing a new discretionary service providing formal definition of waste opinions. Customers will pay an initial fee of £750 when they submit a request for a definition of waste opinion - equivalent to 6 hours work at £125 an hour. This is the minimum amount of time needed to complete an initial review. The Environment Agency will then provide a cost estimate of further work needed to complete a full technical and legal assessment.

Find out more about the Definition of waste service.

Environmental permitting charges

Environmental Permitting Regulations (EPR) charges have changed as a result of the review. The following information provides full details of the changes and current charges:

EU ETS charges

Some EU ETS charges changed as a result of the review. You can find details of these changes in the EU ETS Charging Scheme. This applied from 1 April 2018.

Fisheries charges

Fisheries charges are not changing as a result of the recent review of charges. See details of the current charges for:

Marine licensing advice charges

The Environment Agency has introduced a new discretionary service providing marine licensing advice. This is the same approach they currently take for planning application advice.

They will offer a free preliminary opinion. The charge for further technical advice will be offered as a discretionary service, at £100 an hour.

These charges were introduced from 1 April 2018.

Planning applications advice

Charges for the Environment Agency’s optional planning advice service changed to £100 an hour from 1 April 2018.

Waste charges - non EPR

WEEE charges changed as a result of the review. You can find details of these changes in the Waste (Miscellaneous) Charging Scheme.

The new charges apply for the 2019 compliance period started on 1 January 2019.

The existing WEEE charges still apply to the 2018 compliance period, see:

Charges for other non EPR waste activities will not be changing. These are also included in the Waste (Miscellaneous) Charging Scheme.

Waterways (navigation) charges

Navigation charges did not change as a result of the review. For details of current charges, see:

When you need to pay Environment Agency charges

When you send an application to the Environment Agency you need to pay the application charge when you apply. For example this could be an application:

  • for a new permit, licence or registration
  • to vary or surrender an existing permit

For annual subsistence charges, or other supplementary charges (fixed cost or calculated on a time and materials basis), the Environment Agency will send you an invoice. You must pay the invoice straight away unless the Environment Agency has agreed you can spread payment, for example by Direct Debit.

Most annual invoices are sent out in April each year.

For 2018 to 2019 the Environment Agency plan to send their annual subsistence charge invoices during May or June of 2018. Invoices will be delayed because the Environment Agency is developing a new billing system. This will affect customers with environmental permits for:

  • waste
  • installations
  • water discharge activities and groundwater activities

Time and materials charges are invoiced in arrears.

How to pay Environment Agency charges

You can pay in a number of different ways, by:

  • direct debit - preferred method
  • electronic bank transfer
  • card - except American Express
  • cheque

If you have received an invoice it will include details of how to pay. A Direct Debit mandate will also be included so you can set up payment using this method.

If you are making an application, the guidance to the form will tell you how you can pay.

Include an Environment Agency reference number or permit number with your payment. This will make sure your payment can be identified and matched to your application or invoice.

If you want to pay by electronic bank transfer you must use the correct unique reference number. You’ll find details of which reference number to use in the guidance that explains how to apply for a particular permit or licence.


VAT does not apply to charges for environmental permits and licences.

The Environment Agency does charge VAT on some of the optional services they offer. Where VAT does apply, it will be shown next to the charge on your invoice.

Customer purchase orders

The Environment Agency does not accept purchase orders from customers and will not quote purchase order numbers on their invoices. You will need to find an alternative way of processing your payment if you normally rely on the use of a purchase order number to release a payment.

Contact the Environment Agency

For general enquiries about Environment Agency charges, please email:

For enquiries about invoices please contact the address on the back of the invoice.

Published 21 March 2018
Last updated 9 January 2019 + show all updates
  1. Updated links to the national navigation (boat registration) charging schemes.
  2. We have added a link to the national navigation (boat registration) charging schemes.
  3. First published.