Contents of this section

Introduction – subsistence of an environmental permit – revocation of an environmental permit – surrender of an environmental permit – insolvency and dissolution of a company operator


Regulation 19, EPR makes it clear that an environmental permit has a defined life.  The regulation specifies that once granted, an environmental permit continues in force until it is revoked, it is surrendered, it is replaced with a consolidated permit, or it ceases to have effect on the death of a sole operator – all of which must be in accordance with the specific regulations.

Revocation of an environmental permit is the ultimate regulatory sanction, and is dealt with separately under the section of this part of the website which considers a Regulator’s Powers and Enforcement.  This section considers other terminating events set out in reg.19, and also the question what happens on insolvency or dissolution of a company.


Environmental permits may be surrendered according to one of two processes set out in the Environmental Permitting Regulations.  The first of those is the process under reg.24, which applies to the less dangerous activities, for instance mobile plant or a stand-alone water discharge activity.  Regulation 24 allows an operator simply to notify the regulator that it intends to surrender its environmental permit (or part of a permit).  A notification must be made on the form provided by the regulator and provide for special information.

Paragraphs 14 requires the regulator to accept an application for the surrender of the permit so long as it is satisfied that the necessary measures have been taken to avoid a risk of pollution (or of flooding, etc.) and to return the site of the facility to a satisfactory state (having regard to the state of the site is when the facility was first put into operation).

A refusal to accept an application for the surrender of a permit gives rise to the statutory appeals procedure of Schedule 6.

Insolvency and dissolution of a company

One circumstance which is not provided for in reg.19 is what happens to an operator which is a company in liquidation.  In those circumstances, liquidators are entitled to disclaim a permit as onerous property (s.178, Insolvency Act ,1986).  The disclaimer brings the licence to an end.

On the dissolution of a corporate operator, an environmental permit terminates.