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Permitting Process Overview

WRM offers a complete service for the production of permit applications and can provide ongoing support to manage the determination process with the Environment Agency (EA). The following blog provides an overview on what applicants can expect to encounter during the process. This also acts as a useful resource as part of planning the critical path for a future development.

To provide a breakdown of the process:

1) Pre-Application Advice

Once a client has engaged WRM, the first step of the process is to request pre-application advice. This can be undertaken through the basic service (free) or enhanced service (chargeable at £100 per hour). Basic advice involves the submission of high-level information to the EA through an online portal. Once the EA have reviewed this information, they will issue a letter outlining what the activity will be classed as and what needs to be submitted for the application (it is important to note that the contents of this letter are provided based on the high-level information initially submitted and is subject to change when the full application is received by the EA). The enhanced pre-app service is similar, but a meeting is undertaken between the EA and applicant and the application contents are discussed in more detail at the beginning of the process. This minimises the risk of changes to the application being required during technical determination by the EA.

2) Production of Application

WRM will start work on the application documents and issue an information request to the client. Dependent on the expediency of information being provided to WRM, an application can be put together within 2-4 weeks. This timescale is subject to extension if, for example, separate investigative studies of the development site are required by a separate contractor.

3) Duly Made Stage

Once submitted, the EA allocate the application to a permitting officer for ‘duly made’ checks – this is in effect a tick box exercise to check the basic information required to determine the application has been provided. Due to Covid-19 as well as historic delays in processing applications at the EA, the current timescales to allocate the application for these checks is wide ranging and WRM have seen up to 4 months. Once allocated, the checks are usually completed within a few weeks.

4) Technical Determination

Once the duly made checks are completed the application is deemed duly made and it is passed to an EA officer for assessment. There is no statutory timescale on how long this transition should take but it’s generally no longer than 2-3 weeks before the officer assigned the application contacts WRM after an application has been duly made.

The technical determination phase has the following statutory timescales for a range of applications:

Permit application type Determination time
Transfer or partial transfer Two months
Standard permit (other than installations) Three months
Mobile plant permit Three months
Variations (without public consultation) Three months
Surrender or partial surrender Three months
Applications with public consultation:

  • standard permit for installations;
  • bespoke permit; and
  • variations
Four months

It is important to note that if the officer requires additional information, they will send out a Schedule 5 notice requesting additional information. The clock stops once the Schedule 5 notice is issued and remains stopped whilst the applicant addresses the Schedule 5 notice. The clock resumes when the required information has been submitted back to the EA.

At the end of the determination period, a decision is then made by the EA if the permit is either issued or refused. With pre-application advice undertaken and a strong application submitted there is a very high chance that a permit will be issued.

If you would like more information on the permitting services offered by WRM, please see the following page https://wrm-ltd.co.uk/services/planning-permitting/. Contact detailed for our permitting consultants are located at the bottom of the services page.

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