Onshore oil and gas sector guidance

2. Mining waste permits

Mining waste permits, waste management plans and extra requirements you must comply with if you have a mining waste facility.

2.1 When you need a mining waste permit

Every onshore oil and gas operation must have a permit to manage extractive waste (mining waste). This permit allows you to manage the extractive waste you generate when you construct, operate and decommission your site.

If you inject or re-inject produced water that comes out of the well when you explore and extract hydrocarbons, a mining waste permit allows you to manage the waste water from this activity.

A mining waste permit also allows you to dispose of waste gases (including natural gas) using a flare. The flare must have a maximum capacity of below 10 tonnes per day (or be engineered to meet that limit). You will need an installations permit for flares with a higher capacity.

See section 8 Flares at onshore oil and gas sites for more information about using flares and the permitting requirements.

2.2 Waste management plan

When you apply for a bespoke mining waste permit you must provide a waste management plan for approval by the Environment Agency. Your waste management plan must set out the measures you will take to prevent or reduce:

  • the waste generated by your activities
  • any adverse effects your activities might have on the environment or human health

The guidance How to comply with your environmental permit: additional guidance for mining waste operations has more information about how to develop a waste management plan and the information you must include.

You must also comply with best available techniques (BAT) for managing extractive waste and code and classify your waste correctly - see section 7.4.

2.3 Mining waste facility

A mining waste facility is an area you designate to accumulate or deposit extractive waste. If your operations include a mining waste facility, you must comply with additional requirements.

If you store liquid or solid hazardous extractive waste on site, this would be classed as a mining waste facility. For example this could be waste stored in containers that remain on site once they are filled. However, this does not apply if you are only storing the waste whilst you wait for it to be collected and removed from the site.

If you leave waste hydraulic fracturing fluid in the rock formation after injection, the area will be classed as a mining waste facility.

The re-injection of produced water is not classed as a mining waste facility.

If your operations include a mining waste facility, you must:

  • identify where you have left hydraulic fracturing fluid underground – providing sub-surface information with your application (see section 12)
  • send the Environment Agency your EIA if you have produced one as part of your planning application
  • assess whether your waste facility is classified as Category A and include this assessment in your waste management plan

How to comply with your environmental permit: additional guidance for mining waste operations has information about mining waste facilities (pages 5 to 6) and how to carry out a Category A assessment (pages 11 to 19).