Waste incinerator plant: apply for R1 status

How to calculate the incinerator’s energy efficiency factor so you can apply for and keep R1 recovery status.

Incinerating waste is a disposal activity. You can re-class your incinerator as a recovery operation if you get R1 status.

Your incineration plant may need R1 recovery status if it’s a requirement of your planning approval.

Your plant must have R1 status if you want to:

Check if the incinerator is eligible

To qualify as an R1 recovery operation the waste incinerator must:

  • have or will have an environmental permit for a waste incineration installation
  • be capable of incinerating mixed municipal solid waste, including refuse derived fuel or solid recovered fuel incinerators if the fuel’s been made from mixed municipal solid waste
  • not be a co-incinerator

Find out what mixed municipal waste is and what to do if your waste incinerator has more than one incineration line in the European Commission’s guidance.

Municipal waste incinerators (MWI) designed to burn municipal waste but which accept commercial and industrial waste are also eligible.

Calculate the energy efficiency

You must calculate the energy efficiency factor of the incinerator. This is known as the R1 value. Calculate the R1 value using the method in the European Commission’s Guidance.

If your incineration plant will generate electricity using a standard Rankine cycle steam power plant system, you can use the R1 efficiency formula spreadsheet to do the calculation. If you’re not sure if the spreadsheet is suitable for your process contact the Environment Agency for advice.

Energy efficiency results

The minimum R1 values are:

  • 0.60 for MWI permitted and in operation before 1 January 2009
  • 0.65 for MWI permitted and in operation after 31 December 2008
  • 0.60 for ASR

If the first R1 value you calculate is below the minimum, you can apply a climate correction factor (CCF). This may help increase the R1 value for plants in warmer parts of the UK where it’s harder to be efficient than in colder parts.

Calculate your CCF

You must follow the instructions in the Annex of European Commission Directive (EU) 2015/1127.

You can enter the CCF value into the R1 spreadsheet which will then calculate the final R1 value automatically. Or you can multiply the R1 value you’ve calculated with the CCF yourself.

Apply for R1 status

Before you make an application you can have a pre-application discussion with your local Environment Agency installations team. This will help you understand what you need to include in your application. Contact the Environment Agency to arrange this.

You must submit:

  • the R1 value, either in a completed R1 spreadsheet, or alternative calculation method agreed with the Environment Agency if your incinerator doesn’t use a standard Rankine cycle steam power plant system
  • clear concise evidence for each figure
  • a Sankey diagram (or equivalent) showing the boundary of the system you’re doing the calculation for
  • the correct fee

The Environment Agency will assess the data you submit and confirm if you meet R1 status.

Apply before the plant is commissioned

Once the plant design is known you can submit an application based on design data. You can apply before the plant has been commissioned including before you seek planning approval or apply for an environmental permit.

You can also apply for R1 status at the same time as making an environmental permit application. If you do this it will be cheaper than making separate applications.

Apply when the plant is commissioned

When a new incinerator plant is commissioned it’ll have an acceptance test to show that it meets the design specifications.

Your application must use the boiler efficiency data from the acceptance test to validate the R1 value you calculated at the design stage.

If you don’t, or if the value is below the minimum needed, you’ll lose R1 status.

Apply after the plant has been commissioned

If you didn’t apply for R1 status using the plant design you can still apply after the plant’s been commissioned. Contact the Environment Agency to find what to do if the acceptance test was carried out more than 5 years ago.

Maintain R1 status

You must collect operational data each year. You must submit a revised R1 application based on this data by the end of the following January. The Environment Agency will assess the data and confirm whether you’re still achieving R1 status.

If the data shows that you’re not achieving R1 status at the end of the year you can ask for more time to take action to fix the problem.

The Environment Agency will decide if it grants an extension based on the:

  • previous 3 years’ performance levels
  • length of time it will take you to fix the problem
  • probability of achieving the minimum threshold

R1 status is withdrawn if the incinerator can’t meet the minimum requirements the following year.


You need to do a full reassessment every 5 years. Contact the Environment Agency to find out how to reassess the boiler efficiency.

Application fee

When you apply for:

  • R1 status at the same time as you apply for your environmental permit: no charge
  • the first time before or after commissioning: £2,000
  • revalidation after plant commissioning, annual submission and 5-year reassessment stages: £1,000

The Environment Agency will ask you for an additional fee if the submission is:

  • so complex it needs a consultant to help assess your submission
  • of such poor quality the Environment Agency needs to do additional work

How to pay

By cheque

Make the cheque payable to Environment Agency and post it to:

PSC-EP team
Quadrant 2
99 Parkway Avenue
Parkway Business Park
S9 4WF

Debit or Credit card

Call the Environment Agency on 03708 506 506 to arrange payment by Visa, Mastercard or Maestro.

Bank transfer (for example BACS/CHAPS)

To transfer your fee use these details:

  • company name: Environment Agency
  • bank: RBS/Natwest, London Corporate Service Centre, CPB Services, 2nd floor, 280 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 4RB
  • sort code: 60-70-80
  • account number: 10014411
  • account name: EA RECEIPTS
  • reference: PSC/APP/XXXXXYYYY where X is the first 5 letters of the company name and Y is a unique 4 digit number of your choice relevant to you

If you’re making your payment from outside the UK it must be pound sterling. Use the IBAN number GB23NWBK60708010014411 or SWIFTBIC number NWBKGB2L.

You must write and explain what the payment’s for and give the payment date to both the:

  • Environment Agency, Income Shared Services Connect Ltd, PO Box 797, Newport, Gwent NP10 8FZ
  • Permit Support Centre EP team – use the same address as for payment by cheque


You can:

Published 4 October 2016
Last updated 15 May 2017 + show all updates
  1. Added a point of clarification to eligible incinerators; 'must be capable of incinerating mixed municipal solid waste, including refuse derived fuel or solid recovered fuel incinerators if the fuel's been made from mixed municipal solid waste'.
  2. First published.