Environment Agency fees and charges

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

Applies to England

Environment Agency charges

You may have to pay a charge to cover the costs of regulating your activity. The amount you pay depends on:

  • the activity you carry out
  • 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 regularly review their charges to make sure they reflect their costs.

If they think that charges need to change, they consult with customers first. Then they publish the consultation responses to explain how they addressed customer comments when setting their new charges.

See a list of the Environment Agency’s charge consultations.

Environmental permitting: supplementary charges

There are extra (supplementary) charges that some customers 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 they determine 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 Environment Agency officers and the equipment involved can be recovered in full.

Time and materials supplementary charges will apply in the following 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 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 guidance Environmental permits: when and how you are charged.

Optional advice services

The Environment Agency charges for the following optional advice services:

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

Find out more about Environment Agency charges in the following sections.

Abstraction charges

Water resources charges have changed.

See the guidance Water resources licences: when and how you are charged.

See the Environmental permits and abstraction licences: tables of charges.

Climate change agreement charges

See details of climate change agreement charges.

COMAH charges

The hourly rate for work related to COMAH sites is £161 an hour.

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

CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme charges

See details of CRC charges.

Definition of waste service charges

The Environment Agency has a discretionary service that provides formal definition of waste opinions. Customers pay an initial fee of £750 when they submit a request for a definition of waste opinion. This is equivalent to 6 hours work at £125 an hour. This is the minimum amount of time they need 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


Fisheries charges

See details of the charges for:

Greenhouse gas emissions charges

See details of Greenhouse gas emissions charges.

Marine licensing advice charges

The Environment Agency has a discretionary service that provides marine licensing advice. This is the same approach they take for planning application advice.

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

Registration charges for equipment containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

See details of PCB registration charges.

Planning advice

The Environment Agency charges £100 an hour for their optional planning advice service.

The Environment Agency charges £100 an hour for services related to a development consent order under the Planning Act 2008. These services include advice, information, assistance and responses to consultations. Examples of these services are listed in guidance on the Planning Act 2008: Infrastructure Planning (Fees) Regulations 2010 - cost recovery by The Planning Inspectorate and Public Bodies.

Applicants should set up a written agreement with the Environment Agency for the advice services they need. This is so applicants can get more detail about the services and what they’ll need to pay.

For services related to a development consent order, the charges will apply with or without a written agreement.

To request advice on your proposal, and to find out how to set up a written agreement, see Developers: get environmental advice on your planning proposals.

Waste charges – non-EPR

See details of non-EPR waste charges.

Waterways (navigation) charges

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.

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 (not American Express)
  • cheque

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

If you are making an application, the guidance to the form will tell you how to 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. Details of which reference number to use are in the guidance that explains how to apply for a permit or licence.


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

If it’s not an optional service, such as environmental permits and licences, VAT does not apply.

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 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.

Updates to this page

Published 21 March 2018
Last updated 1 April 2024 + show all updates
  1. Updated the 'Planning advice' section to explain where charges apply and linked to more guidance on these services.

  2. Added a link to the 'Water resources charge proposals from April 2022' consultation response under 'Changes to Environment Agency charging'. Added updated references to water resources charges as new charges apply from 1 April 2022. Updated the link under Environmental permitting charges to the 'Environment Agency (Environmental Permitting and Abstraction Licensing) (England) Charging Scheme 2022' .

  3. Added a link to the Environment Agency Greenhouse gas emissions charging scheme and removed links to the EU ETS charging scheme and the UK ETS charging scheme.

  4. Added links to the 2021 consultation response and the UK emissions trading scheme (UK ETS) charges.

  5. We have added information about what to do if you have difficulties paying your invoice on time because of coronavirus. You may be able to set up a payment plan.

  6. Updated to include information about recent changes to fees and charges.

  7. Updated links to the national navigation (boat registration) charging schemes.

  8. We have added a link to the national navigation (boat registration) charging schemes.

  9. First published.

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