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Defra consults on council pollution control fees

For the first time in six years, local authorities could get the chance to increase their inspection charges for industrial pollution control work such as regulating dry cleaners, petrol station and rendering plants.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs issued a consultation paper on 29 September, on “Local Authority environmental regulation fees and charges 2016 review: call for evidence”. And, it highlights that the document will be of interest to those involved with air quality work.

Petrol stations are among the facilities regulated by local authorities (picture: Jlius Kielaitis, Shutterstock)

Petrol stations are among the facilities regulated by local authorities (picture: Julius Kielaitis, Shutterstock)

The paper explains how fee levels have been held since 2010 as the government did not wish charges to raise income for councils with the aim to cover costs. At the same time, there was a view that slack within local government would be tackled and so that there was room for local authorities to find ways to ensure that income met service costs.

Now, however, the consultation paper notes how local authority pay rates and other costs have increased, albeit at a low level.

Inflation

The paper asks for opinions on whether the idea of a fee increase perhaps pegged to the rate of inflation would be a good idea.

In a statement, Defra said: “The Government is conducting a review of Local Authority (LA) environmental permitting fees and charges for regulation of industrial plant in England. LAs regulate certain industrial facilities providing permits which set conditions to control, minimise or avoid local pollution and which set emission limits for certain activities.

“There are charges for granting or in certain cases for varying a permit and annual substance fees levied by LAs on permitted operators. The fees and charges levied reflect the cost of regulating activity required for the facility.”

And, the Department notes that the aim of the review is to see if:

  • the level of fees and charges are set at the correct level
  • there are ways to reduce burdens for LA regulators and/or for industry
  • there are ways to streamline administrative processes within Government to reduce the burden on the tax payer.

Further details

More information about the consultation, which includes an online survey, is available here: Defra consultation

 

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