Do you need to apply for a permit?

  • Extractive waste may be produced as a result of the onshore prospecting, extraction, treatment and storage of mineral resources and the working of quarries. It may be:
  • waste solids or slurries that remain after the treatment of minerals by a number of techniques
  • rock and overburden that extractive operations move during the process of assessing an ore or mineral body, including during the pre-production stage
  • soil, for example the upper layer of the ground, including sub-soil

Read the interpretation of the definition of extractive waste on th Environment Agency's website. This position statement describes the principles we will apply in assessing whether materials arising during an extraction process are extractive waste. The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) Minerals Group has also produced a guidance note that explains how to make the assessment, and submit it to us, in a consistent and cost-effective way. The deposit of unpolluted soils, some wastes arising from prospecting mineral resources and peat workings: All mining waste operations need an environmental permit. However, we are currently looking at options to allow the deposit of the following to be regulated through a different route:

  • non-hazardous waste generated from the prospecting of mineral resources (except oil and evaporates, other than gypsum and anhydrite)
  • waste resulting from the extraction, storage and treatment of peat
  • unpolluted soil

Until these options are finalised and any necessary change made to the legal framework, we will not require a permit for deposit of these materials. We ask that you register this activity instead. The registration process is explained in Regulatory Position Statement (RPS042).

Transition to the mining waste regulations

EPR sets out transitional provisions for existing mining waste operations, whether or not they involve existing mining waste facilities. These are summarised in the transitional provisions document see link below.

Types of permit available

We have two types of permit available: standard rules and bespoke.

A standard rules permit for the management of inert extractive waste (without a point source discharge to water).

Make sure you understand the standard rules set, that it describes exactly what you want to do and that you will be able to meet the requirements of the rules. Read carefully through the full standard rules set and associated generic risks assessment. If you cannot comply with any of the standard rules, you must apply for a bespoke permit.

The standard rules permits available for mining waste and the accompanying generic risk assessments for each, are on our Apply for a standard permit for waste activities page.

A bespoke permit for any other mining waste operations. This includes new mining waste operations with new water discharges, Category A sites, and sites not dealing with inert waste. Water discharges are also regulated under the Environmental Permitting Regulations.

If you have an existing permitted water discharge from a mining operation, that is now deemed to be an environmental permit. We recommend that, if appropriate, the permit is varied to add the requirements for the mining waste operation.

Before you apply for a permit, we recommend that you read our regulatory framework for the implementation of the Mining Waste Directive. For further information please refer to our technical guidance note EPR 6.14 How to comply with your environmental permit. 

Fees and charges

Read more about fees and charges in our environmental permitting charging scheme.

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