Environment Agency consultation on Standard Rules

UK AD and Biogass 2014, aerial shot of farm with AD plant, Spring Farm_22989

Following on from their review of biowaste permits, as well as reviewing incidents and audit data from anaerobic digestion plants, the Environment Agency (EA) have issued a consultation (21st October 2019) on the revision of standard rules sets for biowaste treatment.

Standard Rules Consultation No.20- proposed revised rule sets for biowaste.


The Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 allows the EA to offer standard permits to reduce the administrative burden on business whilst maintaining environmental standards. This consultation proposes revising the standard rules sets for biowaste including anaerobic digestion, composting and sewage sludge treatment based on the review of the risks posed by biowaste treatment. It also proposes to withdraw some rule sets (see below).  

The consultation document explains the EA's proposals and the key revisions to the rule sets. There are currently 21 rule sets listed for biowaste treatment facilities and the EA propose to reduce the number of standard rules by transposing like for like activity.

These are the standard rules the EA propose to revise:


  • SR2008 No 16 25kte and 75kte: composting in open systems (no longer available)
  • SR2008 No 17 75kte: composting in closed systems (in-vessel composting)
  • SR2010 No 14: 500t composting biodegradable waste
  • SR2011 No 1: 500t composting biodegradable waste (in open and closed systems)
  • SR2012 No 3: composting in closed systems
  • SR2012 No 7: composting in open systems
  • SR2012 No 4: composting in closed systems
  • SR2012 No 8: composting in open systems

Anaerobic Digestion and Sewage Sludge:

  • SR2008 No 19: non-hazardous sludge biological chemical and physical treatment site
  • SR2012 No 10: on-farm anaerobic digestion facility using farm wastes only, including use of the resultant biogas
  • SR2012 No 12: anaerobic digestion facility including use of the resultant biogas (waste recovery operation)
  • SR2012 No 9: on-farm anaerobic digestion using farm wastes
  • SR2012 No 11: anaerobic digestion facility including use of the resultant biogas

The EA are also proposing to revoke these rules sets for mechanical biological treatment:

  • SR2008 No 18: 75kte non-hazardous mechanical biological (aerobic) treatment facility (existing permits)
  • SR2015 No 12: 75kte non-hazardous mechanical biological (aerobic) treatment facility

As well as proposing that the rule sets SR2010 No 15 and SR2010 No 16 are revoked:

  • SR2010 No 15: anaerobic digestion facility including use of the resultant biogas
  • SR2010 No 16: on-farm anaerobic digestion facility

    The EA have written to inform those who hold one or more of the standard rules affected or have a professional interest in this consultation (via email) and welcome comments on the proposed changes. 

    If you don't have access to the consultation, you can call the EA's customer contact centre on 03708 506 506, who will be happy to provide you with further information.

    Responding to the consultation

    The NFU will be formally responding to the proposed changes to the rule sets. 

    The consultation is open until 28th February 2020.

    If you would like to respond directly you can find details on the EA's website here. Alternatively you can contribute to the NFU's response by emailing nfuenvironment@nfu.org.uk by 20th January 2020. 

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