In its recently published “EPA Approach to Environmental Liabilities and Financial Provision”, the EPA will apply a risk-based approach to environmental liability and financial provision requirements. Consequently, only facilities whose licensable classes of activity are considered high risk to the environment will be required to agree the assessment and costings for environmental liabilities and financial provision going forward.
Licenced facilities required to agree costs and provisions for environmental liabilities are those which fall into one of eight categories namely:
- Landfills (privately operated and local authority landfills operating post July 2009);
- Category A Extractive Waste Facilities;
- Upper & Lower Tier Seveso Facilities;
- Hazardous Waste Transfer Stations;
- Non-Hazardous Waste Transfer Stations (accepting > 50,000tpa);
- Incineration & Co-Incineration Waste Facilities;
- High Risk Contaminated Land;
- Exceptional Circumstances i.e. where a facility does not fall into one of the foregoing categories but it meets one or more of the following criteria: (i) there is a known, documented liability;(ii) that liability unusual for the sector, (iii) there is significant waste stockpiling at a facility, (iv) there is groundwater/soil contamination requiring intervention to prevent/limit off-site impacts.
Facilities that do not fall into the eight categories above are no longer required to agree costs and financial provisions for environmental liabilities.
The above position is in line with the commitments outlined in the EPA’s Strategic Plan (2016-2020) and “ensures that legislative requirements are met, keeping environmental protection to the fore, while being a balanced and fair approach for both industry and the public”.