Environmental Protection Act 1990

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1990 c. 43


Environmental Protection Act 1990

1990 CHAPTER 43

An Act to make provision for the improved control of pollution arising from certain industrial and other processes; to re-enact the provisions of the Control of Pollution Act 1974 relating to waste on land with modifications as respects the functions of the regulatory and other authorities concerned in the collection and disposal of waste and to make further provision in relation to such waste; to restate the law defining statutory nuisances and improve the summary procedures for dealing with them, to provide for the termination of the existing controls over offensive trades or businesses and to provide for the extension of the Clean Air Acts to prescribed gases; to amend the law relating to litter and make further provision imposing or conferring powers to impose duties to keep public places clear of litter and clean; to make provision conferring powers in relation to trolleys abandoned on land in the open air; to amend the Radioactive Substances Act 1960; to make provision for the control of genetically modified organisms; to make provision for the abolition of the Nature Conservancy Council and for the creation of councils to replace it and discharge the functions of that Council and, as respects Wales, of the Countryside Commission; to make further provision for the control of the importation, exportation, use, supply or storage of prescribed substances and articles and the importation or exportation of prescribed descriptions of waste; to confer powers to obtain information about potentially hazardous substances; to amend the law relating to the control of hazardous substances on, over or under land; to amend section 107(6) of the Water Act 1989 and sections 31(7)(a), 31A(2)(c)(i) and 32(7)(a) of the Control of Pollution Act 1974; to amend the provisions of the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985 as regards the dumping of waste at sea; to make further provision as respects the prevention of oil pollution from ships; to make provision for and in connection with the identification and control of dogs; to confer powers to control the burning of crop residues; to make provision in relation to financial or other assistance for purposes connected with the environment; to make provision as respects superannuation of employees of the Groundwork Foundation and for remunerating the chairman of the Inland Waterways Amenity Advisory Council; and for purposes connected with those purposes.

[1st November 1990]

B e it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

I Integrated Pollution Control and Air Pollution Control by Local Authorities

Part I

Integrated Pollution Control and Air Pollution Control by Local Authorities

Preliminary

Preliminary

S-1 Preliminary.

1 Preliminary.

(1) The following provisions have effect for the interpretation of this Part.

(2) The ‘environment’ consists of all, or any, of the following media, namely, the air, water and land; and the medium of air includes the air within buildings and the air within other natural or man-made structures above or below ground.

(3) ‘Pollution of the environment’ means pollution of the environment due to the release (into any environmental medium) from any process of substances which are capable of causing harm to man or any other living organisms supported by the environment.

(4) ‘Harm’ means harm to the health of living organisms or other interference with the ecological systems of which they form part and, in the case of man, includes offence caused to any of his senses or harm to his property; and ‘harmless’ has a corresponding meaning.

(5) ‘Process’ means any activities carried on in Great Britain, whether on premises or by means of mobile plant, which are capable of causing pollution of the environment and ‘prescribed process’ means a process prescribed under section 2(1) below.

(6) For the purposes of subsection (5) above—

‘activities’ means industrial or commercial activities or activities of any other nature whatsoever (including, with or without other activities, the keeping of a substance);

‘Great Britain’ includes so much of the adjacent territorial sea as is, or is treated as, relevant territorial waters for the purposes of Chapter 1 of Part III of the Water Act 1989 or, as respects Scotland, Part II of the Control of Pollution Act 1974 ; and

‘mobile plant’ means plant which is designed to move or to be moved whether on roads or otherwise.

(7) The ‘enforcing authority’, in relation to England and Wales, is the chief inspector or the local authority by whom, under section 4 below, the functions conferred or imposed by this Part otherwise than on the Secretary of State are for the time being exercisable in relation respectively to releases of substances into the environment or into the air; and ‘local enforcing authority’ means any such local authority.

(8) The ‘enforcing authority’, in relation to Scotland, is—

(a) in relation to releases of substances into the environment, the chief inspector or the river purification authority (which in this Part means a river purification authority within the meaning of the Rivers (Prevention of Pollution) (Scotland) Act 1951 ),

(b) in relation to releases of substances into the air, the local authority,

by whom, under section 4 below, the functions conferred or imposed by this Part otherwise than on the Secretary of State are for the time being exercisable; and ‘local enforcing authority’ means any such local authority.

(9) ‘Authorisation’ means an authorisation for a process (whether on premises or by means of mobile plant) granted under section 6 below; and a reference to the conditions of an authorisation is a reference to the conditions subject to which at any time the authorisation has effect.

(10) A substance is ‘released’ into any environmental medium whenever it is released directly into that medium whether it is released into it within or outside Great Britain and ‘release’ includes—

(a) in relation to air, any emission of the substance into the air;

(b) in relation to water, any entry (including any discharge) of the substance into water;

(c) in relation to land, any deposit, keeping or disposal of the substance in or on land;

and for this purpose ‘water’ and ‘land’ shall be construed in accordance with subsections (11) and (12) below.

(11) For the purpose of determining into what medium a substance is released—

(a) any release into—

(i) the sea or the surface of the seabed,

(ii) any river, watercourse, lake, loch or pond (whether natural or artificial or above or below ground) or reservoir or the surface of the riverbed or of other land supporting such waters, or

(iii) ground waters,

is a release into water;

(b) any release into—

(i) land covered by water falling outside paragraph (a) above or the water covering such land; or

(ii) the land beneath the surface of the seabed or of other land supporting waters falling within paragraph (a)(ii) above,

is a release into land; and

(c) any release into a sewer (within the meaning of the Public Health Act 1936 or, in relation to Scotland, of the Sewerage (Scotland) Act 1968 ) shall be treated as a release into water;

but a sewer and its contents shall be disregarded in determining whether there is pollution of the environment at any time.

(12) In subsection (11) above ‘ground waters’ means any waters contained in underground strata, or in—

(a) a well, borehole or similar work sunk into underground strata, including any adit or passage constructed in connection with the well, borehole or work for facilitating the collection of water in the well, borehole or work; or

(b) any excavation into underground strata where the level of water in the excavation depends wholly or mainly on water entering it from the strata.

(13) ‘Substance’ shall be treated as including electricity or heat and ‘prescribed substance’ has the meaning given by section 2(7) below.

S-2 Prescribed processes and prescribed substances.

2 Prescribed processes and prescribed substances.

(1) The Secretary of State may, by regulations, prescribe any description of process as a process for the carrying on of which after a prescribed date an authorisation is required under section 6 below.

(2) Regulations under subsection (1) above may frame the description of a process by reference to any characteristics of the process or the area or other circumstances in which the process is carried on or the description of person carrying it on.

(3) Regulations under subsection (1) above may prescribe or provide for the determination under the regulations of different dates for different descriptions of persons and may include such transitional provisions as the Secretary of State considers necessary or expedient as respects the making of applications for authorisations and suspending the application of section 6(1) below until the determination of applications made within the period allowed by the regulations.

(4) Regulations under subsection (1) above shall, as respects each description of process, designate it as one for central control or one for local control.

(5) The Secretary of State may, by regulations, prescribe any...

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