Guidance for councils on effluent discharges

The Environment Department (DEFRA) has published additional guidance for local authorities on their responsibilities for regulating discharges under integrated pollution prevention and control (IPPC).1

A survey of councils last year revealed that some environmental health officers have a patchy grasp of IPPC (ENDS Report 358, p 50 ). Sector guidance has not included much information on water issues, adding to their difficulties (ENDS Report 350, p 51 ).

The new guidance focuses on the respective roles of the Environment Agency and councils. Councils are responsible for regulating smaller IPPC activities. The Agency is responsible for providing councils with discharge limits which should be included in the permit.

The guidance says that the Agency will not give councils advice on assessing whether operators are using the best available techniques to control discharges or other water-related issues such as minimisation or abstraction. Councils are responsible for enforcing permit conditions, although the Agency may respond to reasonable requests for assistance.

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