Guidance

Medium combustion plant: apply for an environmental permit

The types of permit available, how much they cost and how to apply for your environmental permit.

Medium Combustion Plant Directive (MCPD) permits are standalone permits. They only cover emissions of SO2, NOx and dust to air. There are no permit conditions for water, land, energy efficiency, odour or noise.

There are 3 types of permit for a stationary or mobile MCP:

  • standard rules permit (SRP) – low risk
  • simple bespoke – low risk
  • complex bespoke permit – high risk

Find information on what to do if your MCP is already permitted, for example, if you have:

Before you apply

Check you have all the information you need, including the deadlines you must meet. Read the guidance:

In:

  • England, apply to the Environment Agency using these details and application forms
  • Wales, apply to Natural Resources Wales (NRW) – use their details and application forms

You need to apply in time for the regulator to determine your application. NRW have extended the date for Tranche B specified generators. For the latest date you must get your permit, see:

Standard rules permits

To apply for a SRP you must be able to meet the rules set out in the permit. If you cannot, you must apply for a bespoke permit.

See the SRP available for new low risk stationary MCPs. You cannot apply for this SRP if your MCP is classed as a specified generator.

See revised existing SRPs you can apply for – these are listed in the charges section.

Apply for a standard rules permit

You must provide the following information when you submit your application, the:

  • operator’s name and the address of the registered office – for mobile MCP the owner is the operator
  • MCP’s location, if stationary – address, postcode and the national grid reference or latitude and longitude – not required for mobile MCP
  • net rated thermal input (MWth)
  • type of combustion plant – such as diesel engine, gas turbine, dual fuel engine, other engine or boiler
  • type and portion of fuels used as set out in the fuel categories in Annex 2 MCPD
  • operation start date
  • Nomenclature of Economic Activities (NACE) code for the activity
  • expected annual operating hours and the approximate average load in use

Operator competence

In your application you must be able to demonstrate your ability as an operator. Provide information on:

  • any conviction of a relevant offence by you or a relevant person
  • current or past bankruptcy or insolvency proceedings against you or a relevant person

You must also confirm you have a written management system.

ELV exemption declaration

If the 500 operating hours per year exemption applies to your MCP, you must provide a signed declaration that the MCP will not operate more than the allowed hours.

Charges for SRPs

These are the charges for the MCP SRP.

SR2018 No 7: new, low risk, stationary Medium Combustion Plant between 1MWth and less than 20MWth

Number of MCPs Application charge £ Subsistence charge £ Transfer charge £ Surrender charge £
1 446 194 169 125
up to 3 520 256 169 125
up to 5 620 342 169 125
up to 8 720 394 169 125
up to 10 779 520 169 125
up to 15 813 620 169 125

The charges for these revised SRPs remain unchanged – you can find details in the relevant table in the environmental permitting table of charges:

  • SR2009 No 4: combustion of biogas at sewage treatment works – table 2.16.16
  • SR2012 No 9: combustion of biogas from anaerobic digestion facilities – table 1.16.36
  • SR2012 No 10: on-farm anaerobic digestion facilities that use farm wastes only, including use of the resultant biogas – table 2.16.15
  • SR2012 No 11: anaerobic digestion facility including use of the resultant biogas – table 1.16.37
  • SR2012 No 12: anaerobic digestion facility including use of the resultant biogas (waste recovery operation) – table 2.16.15

Help and advice

You can ask for pre-application advice. In England:

In Wales:

Complete and submit SRP application form

Complete the electronic application form. The form verifies the SRP you’ve selected based on the information you put in.

Email it to mcpd-application@environment-agency.gov.uk.

If you cannot use the electronic form or you have any issues with it, please contact mcpdhelp@environment-agency.gov.uk.

Bespoke permits

If you cannot meet the conditions in a SRP you must apply for a bespoke permit. There are 2 types:

  • simple bespoke (low risk) – does not require air dispersion modelling
  • complex bespoke (high risk) – does require air dispersion modelling

You must provide all the information required for a SRP application and you must also provide the following.

Air emissions risk assessment

If there are habitats sites within the screening distance of your MCP you must submit your air emissions risk assessment report with your application. This is to demonstrate its impact on the site.

Use the Specified generator Tranche B screening tool if you’re operating an abated diesel engine less than 500 hours per year.

Use the H1 risk assessment tool if you’re operating within:

  • 2km of a designated site for any fuel
  • 5km of a designated site if the fuel is natural gas or low sulphur diesel
  • 10km of a designated site if the fuel is biogas or landfill gas

Energy efficiency report for MCP 20MWth or more

If the MCP’s total thermal rated input is 20MWth or more you must also meet Schedule 24 of the environmental permitting regulations. This implements the requirements of the Energy Efficiency Directive. You must prepare and submit a report if your plant is:

  • new or substantially refurbished
  • operates more than 1,500 hours per year
  • is over 20MWth (total aggregated net thermal input)
  • a boiler, furnace, gas turbine or compression ignition engine

See guidance on how to meet the requirements.

Mobile MCP deploying to a local authority AQMA

You must provide:

  • details of the specific Air Quality Management Area (AQMA)
  • generic examples against high background concentration
  • evidence of no harm to local air quality

The regulator will restrict deployment as appropriate.

Stationary MCP located in a local authority AQMA (mostly boilers)

If your MCP is not a generator, for example it’s a boiler, you must find out if your MCP is located within a local authority AQMA.

In your application you must provide:

  • details of the AQMP
  • actual emissions from the MCP

The regulator will consult the local authority to check if your MCP is identified in the associated air quality management plan.

If it is, your MCP emissions may be identified as adversely impacting air quality in the area. The local authority, in their plan, will identify how much stricter the ELV needs to be to make a noticeable improvement to air quality. The regulator will include the agreed stricter ELV in your permit conditions.

Stationary MCP within the distance requiring a conservation assessment

You will be applying for a bespoke permit if you cannot meet the habitat’s requirements set out in the SRP rules.

For bespoke permit applications you must meet the habitats rules as set out in the guidance screening for protected conservation areas. You may need to do an air emissions risk assessment if you cannot meet the requirements.

Setting monitoring requirements

You must provide detailed information on:

  • secondary abatement – the pollutant, abatement technology and how it’s maintained and monitored to provide continuous and effective abatement
  • continuous emissions monitors (CEMs) where proposed – the pollutant and the monitoring standards the CEMs meet
  • the stack and flue configuration and sample points of aggregated stacks for new or existing MCP

The regulator will set the monitoring requirements based on:

Charges for bespoke permits

Find the charges for simple and complex bespoke MCP permits in table 1.10 Environmental Permitting Charging Scheme.

If the Environment Agency needs to do extra or unusual regulatory work they will charge you a supplementary charge. For example, if they need to assess the impact of emissions to air on a habitats site. Their charge is in table 1.19.2 in the Environmental Permitting Charges Scheme.

Apply for a bespoke permit

In England you can apply online.

Email PSC@environment-agency.gov.uk if you cannot apply online.

Find the details on how to apply in Wales.

Get help with your bespoke application

See guidance on how to get help with your application in England.

In Wales email mcpd.queries@naturalresourceswales.gov.uk or call Customer Care Centre on 03000 065 3000.

After you apply

The regulator may reject your application if, for example you have:

  • not used the right forms
  • forgotten to include the fee or sent the wrong fee
  • not provided important information

Once the regulator has the information they need to start assessing your application, they will contact you and tell you that your application is ‘duly made’. You will be notified if your application is duly made within:

  • one month in England
  • 21 working days in Wales

The regulators may request more information if they need it to complete their assessment.

After you get your permit

Once the regulators have issued your permit they will add your details to:

See guidance on how to comply with your permit and how you’ll be regulated.

Contact your regulator

The regulators are:

England

Contact the Environment Agency:

General enquiries

National Customer Contact Centre
PO Box 544
Rotherham
S60 1BY

Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Wales

Contact NRW.

Published 15 July 2019
Last updated 10 September 2019 + show all updates
  1. The Environment Agency's Regulatory Position Statement: Permits for schedule 25B, Tranche B specified generators: RPS 219 for sites in England expired on 31 August 2019.
  2. The Natural Resource Wales Regulatory Decision has been extended to 31 October 2019.
  3. Added: In England you can now apply for a bespoke permit online. Also details of when air emission risk assessment and energy efficiency reports are required.
  4. First published.