Environmental Permitting is governed by the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010. The Regulations have been subject to a number of amendments since coming into force on 6 April 2010. There have been two recent amendments so far in 2016.

First, to mention briefly is the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2016 (SI 2016/149). These came into force on 13 May 2016 following a consultation published by Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in November 2015. It amends the regulations to impose EU Standards in respect of petrol vapour recovery during refuelling of motor vehicles at service stations. This implements the Commission Directive 2014/99/EU October 2014 amending Directive 2009/126/EC.

The other recent amendment to the Environmental Permitting regime came in the form of Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2016 (SI 2016/475). These were made on 24 March 2016 and came into force on 6 April 2016. The scope of the 2010 Regulations is extended to include flood risk activities as a regulated facility, in order to replace previous legislation dealing with flood defence consents.

Previously, flood defence consents to regulate activities on watercourses or near watercourses were fairly complex as they are dealt with under different regimes. The amended Regulations require an environmental permit for flood risk activities and provide for activities such as the variation, transfer, surrender and appeal of a permit.

The amended Regulations now include a new Schedule 23ZA, which prescribes the flood risk activities for which a permit is required. The Schedule excludes certain activities from the definition of flood risk activities, provided they meet conditions set out in the Schedule.

The Environment Agency together with DEFRA have issued guidance dealing with changes to Flood Defence Consents after 6 April 2016.

A further change will be the enactment of a consolidated version of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010 and subsequent amendments. A draft which was put out to consultation in the autumn of last year will be revised to take into account the above amendments. The revised consolidation will then be put before Parliament later this year, with a view to coming into force on 1 January 2017.