IPPC License

The EPA Act 1992 introduced Integrated Pollution control (IPC) for specific “activities” . It outlines that it is the Environmental Protection Agency” (EPA) responsiblity for the issuing and implementing of such a licence.

The licence controls all emissions, covering air, water, waste and noise and also an activity must ensure that they use the Best Available Technology (BAT).

Where an activity is required to obtain an IPC licence but has an effluent discharge to a local authority sewer, section 97 of the EPA Act requires the EPA to “obtain the consent of the sanitary authority in which the sewer is vested or by which it is controlled”. In addition the EPA must include any conditions that the sanitary authority “considers appropriate”. The EPA cannot issue an IPC licence unless the sanitary authority is satisfied with the arrangements for effluent discharge to sewer.

Where a change to a scheduled activity is being considered which could affect environmental emissions, the EPA must be notified of that proposed change. The EPA will then decide whether the change is likely to be significant enough to warrant an application for an IPC licence (or an IPC licence review in the case of an existing licence holder).

A system of Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) licensing came into effect in Ireland on 12 July 2004. The primary aims of IPPC licensing are to prevent or reduce emissions to air, water and land, to reduce waste and to use energy efficiently.

The IPPC system replaces Integrated Pollution Control (IPC) as the licensing regime applicable to certain industrial activities in Ireland.

Any person carrying on an activity or proposing to carry on an activity should take particular note of the following rules, which came into effect on 12th July 2004.

A person must obtain an IPPC licence for a scheduled activity before commencing a new activity.

It is essential that any person proposing or carrying on activities referred to in 1 and 2 above should make immediate contact with the EPA with a view to clarifying the status of the activity and where necessary making the necessary application.

  • Other key changes to the licensing system:
  • a requirement for an applicant to be a “fit and proper person”,
  • a change in the technical basis of the licensing system from best available technology not entailing excessive costs (BATNEEC) to best available techniques (BAT),
  • increased emphasis on energy efficiency in the carrying out of activities,
  • provision for the transfer and surrender of IPPC licences (similar to those already in place for waste licensing system),
  • provision for the revocation or suspension of licences,
  • a greater emphasis on pollution prevention in the licensing system and on minimising environmental problems at source,
  • amendments to and an increase in the range of documentation to accompany an application for a licence,
  • extended powers to the EPA to reject a licence application where the applicant fails to provide additional information within specified timescales,
  • an explicit requirement for the inclusion of emission limit values in licences,
  • the EPA can regulate greenhouse gas emissions in IPPC licences where necessary,
  • provision for an objector to request the EPA hold an oral hearing in relation to a proposed decision on a licence application,
  • a clear legal basis for compliance with the requirements of EU Directive 80/68/EEC on the protection of groundwater against pollution by certain dangerous substances through the IPPC licensing process
  • a comprehensive provision empowering the EPA to determine that, where a waste activity is carried on in a facility connected or associated with an IPPC activity, a licence under one of these regulatory codes, *but not both, will be required,
  • a power for any person to seek a High Court order where an activity is being carried out in contravention of licensing requirements.