It is seeking to align fees with how well installations comply with permits - as the Environment Agency does - and cut fees for smaller chemical works.1 It is also consulting on fees for the disposal of spent sheep dip.2 The regulator announced fee suspensions in November that were extended in January (ENDS Reports 407, p 49 and 408, p 44 ).
SEPA consulted on a shake-up of how it assesses compliance across four regimes in July last year (ENDS Report 402, pp 48-49 ). It now wants to use these assessments to vary the subsistence fees it charges from April 2011. The changes will apply to all installations with ‘Part A’ pollution prevention and control permits, other than those deemed low impact. ‘Part B’ installations are also included, other than dry cleaners and petrol vapour recovery (ENDS Report 408, p 50 ).
The first year will see sites achieving an ‘excellent’ rating given a fee cut of 5%. Sites with ‘very poor’ compliance will get a 5% increase. These proportions will rise to 10% the following year, with further bands added in the third.
The regime will be tested from April 2010 and reviewed in 2015/16.
Fees for discharges to water, radioactive substances and waste activities will later be covered, but the timetables have yet to be established.
SEPA expects the changes to vary its fees from charges by no more than 0.4%. Its income from these is currently about £5.1 million.
The consultation also proposes cutting pollution prevention and control Part A subsistence fees for inorganic chemical installations by 55%.
The consultation closes on 20 April.
A further consultation proposes to reform payments for disposing of hazardous chemicals to land. The fees are mostly paid by sheep farmers to discard spent sheep dip.
SEPA proposes to make a single charge of £115 in April, representing a 40% cut. The fees are currently paid every six months, although the Scottish Government directed SEPA to waive the second instalment last year.
The consultation closes on 6 March.