To ask Her Majesty's Government with reference to regulation 12(3) of the draft Groundwater (England and Wales) Regulations 2009, whether permits granted before the draft Regulations come into force comply with regulations 8 and 9; and, if not, whether the Environment Agency may amend an existing permit if its conditions are being met. [HL5396]
Authorisations granted under the Groundwater Regulations 1998 will become valid permits for the purpose of the Groundwater Regulations 2009 when those regulations come into force. Such permits will be subject to review under Regulation 12 of the proposed groundwater regulations to ensure that there is compliance with conditions of the permits. Whether the permit conditions are being met or not, such permits could be amended where it is appropriate to do so, for example, to take account of the requirements of the water framework directive.
To ask Her Majesty's Government with reference to regulation 17(2) of the draft Groundwater (England and Wales) Regulations 2009, whether the cost of acquiring information that does not normally come into the possession of the person concerned will be met by the Environment Agency. [HL5397]
Regulation 17(2) of the draft groundwater regulations mirrors the existing provision at regulation 60(3) of the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2007. It is therefore consistent with both existing legislation and the proposed Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010. As with other authorisations, it is for an applicant to provide the requisite information and the cost would not be met by the Environment Agency. A notice served under regulation 17(2) may require any information to be provided where that requirement is reasonable.
The following classes of permits are subject to the existing (1998) Groundwater Regulations and will become valid permits for the purposes of the Groundwater Regulations 2009 when they come into force:
1) Consents to discharge to groundwater under the Water Resources Act 1991.
2) Permits under Environmental Permitting Regulations 2007 where these may result in inputs to groundwater.
3) Groundwater authorisations under the Groundwater Regulations 1998.
There are upwards of 20,000 such permits in total. The number of new applications and variations to such permits will fluctuate daily as they are submitted and processed according to statutory procedures. There is currently no significant backlog of applications. To provide an analysis of each outstanding permit broken down by region would require detailed searches of Environment Agency permitting databases which would incur disproportionate cost.