The licensing process explained

When applying to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for an IPC licence, you must satisfy a number of legislative requirements. These are largely set out in:

  • The EPA (Integrated Pollution Control) (Licensing) Regulations, 2013 (S.I. No. 283 of 2013)

 

The application process involves a number of stages:

Stage 1: Pre-application

Before making an application you must:

  • Publish a notice in a newspaper circulating in the area,
  • Erect a notice on the site indicating that you propose to apply for a licence
  • Notify the planning authority

The content of the notices is set out in the Environmental Protection Agency (Integrated Pollution Control) (Licensing) Regulations, 2013 (S.I. No. 283 of 2013).

Stage 2: Making an application

This stage includes EPA assessment of the the application and submissions on the application. In making an application, make sure that:

  • You use the specified application form (Guidance Notes are available - see below)
  • You answer all questions (incomplete applications will be returned)
  • You pay special attention to the relevant BAT Guidance Note(s), if available at that time from the EPA
  • You attach all necessary supporting documentation including the relevant fee.

We have eight weeks to assess your application before making a "proposed determination".

The eight-week period only starts when the necessary request(s) have been complied with. This period may be extended in certain circumstances, including by agreement with the applicant/licensee.

Before making a proposed determination we must take into account any written submissions received.  

Stage 3: EPA proposed determination

We are required to indicate how we propose to determine an application, and will:

  • Publish a newspaper notice indicating how we propose to determine the application
  • Forward the proposed determination to all those who made a submission
  • Make the proposed determination available for public inspection on this website
  • Notify public bodies specifed in the above mentioned regulations

Stage 4: Any objections on the proposed determination (including submissions on objections)

Any person or body (including the applicant for a licence or a licensee) can make an objection within 28 days of the proposed determination being issued.

The applicant and those submitting a valid objection will be issued with a copy of all valid objections. Submissions in relation to an objection can be made within one month of copies of the objection being circulated.

We cannot consider submissions on objections received after this one-month period, and cannot consider further submissions or elaborations.

We do, however, have the discretion, in the interests of justice and where in particular circumstances we consider appropriate, to request a party to an objection to make a submission in relation to any matter arising in the course of the objection.

Where appropriate, we may request a party to an objection to submit further information within a specified period.

Where no valid objection is made within the prescribed period, we will issue our decision as per the Proposed Determination.

Stage 5: Oral hearing

A person making a valid objection may request an oral hearing. 

Stage 6: Our Final determination

In arriving at our decision, we will consider the application and all objections, submissions received and, where an oral hearing has been held, the report and recommendation of the person/s who conducted the hearing.

When a final determination (decision) has been made, we will notify:

  • The applicant/licensee
  • Anyone who made a written submission in relation to the application
  • Anyone who made a valid objection
  • Public bodies specifed in the regulations

The decision will be made available for inspection on this website and published in a newspaper circulating in the area. Waivers and refunds for applications and objections of the fees may be allowed in certain limited circumstances.

Once a Decision has issued, a person can apply to the High Court and seek a judicial review of the validity of the Decision. Please see Stage 7 below.  

Stage 7: Review of an existing licence

All requests from Licensees to carry out alterations or reconstruction works that effect emissions on site should be considered in the first instance by the Office of Environmental Enforcement.  If the Office of Environmental Enforcement is of the view that the works or measures cannot be accommodated within the terms of the existing Licence, the Licensee is notifed accordingly by the Office of Environmental Enforcement.

If the Office of Environmental Enforcement decides that a review of the existing licence is necessary, they will inform the licensee of that fact and instruct them to apply to the Environmental Licensing Programme, in the Office of Climate, Licensing and Resource Use, for a review of their licence which is the same process as a applying for a new licence as set out above.  The review application must state the grounds on which it is made. 

The Agency can also initiate a review of a Licence in certain circumstances as outlined in Section 87(1)(b) of the EPA Act 1992 as amended. 

Stage 8: Amendment of an existing licence

The Agency may amend a licence or revised licence for the purposes of:-

  1. Correcting any clerical error therein,
  2. Facilitating the doing of any thing pursuant to a condition attached to the licence where the doing of that thing may reasonably be regarded as having been contemplated by the terms of the condition or the terms of the licence taken as a whole but which was not expressly provided for in the condition, or
  3. Otherwise facilitating the operation of the licence and the making of the amendment does not result in the relevant requirements of Section 83(5) ceasing to be satisfied.

View EPA guidance for licensees on requests for alterations.

Judicial Review Notice



Judicial Review of Environmental Protection Agency decisions under the provisions of the Environmental Protection Agency Act 1992 as amended
 
A person wishing to challenge the validity of an EPA decision may do so by way of judicial review only. The validity of a decision taken by the EPA may only be questioned by making an application for Judicial Review under Order 84 of the Rules of the Superior Courts (as amended). The Rules of the Superior Courts and all relevant amendments can be found at www.courts.ie or www.irishstatutebook.ie   

Section 87(10)(a) of the EPA Act 1992 (as amended) provides that any application for judicial review must be made within eight weeks of the date on which the licence or revised licence is granted or the date on which the decision to refuse or not to grant the licence or revised licence is made.  Section 87(10)(b) allows the High Court extend this period in limited circumstances. 


Further information on Judicial Review in environmental and planning matters may be found at 

www.citizensinformation.ie (see http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/environment/environmental_law/judicial_review_in_planning_and_environmental_matters.html


Disclaimer:  The above is intended for information purposes. It does not purport to be a legal interpretation of the relevant provisions and it would be advisable for persons contemplating judicial review proceedings to seek independent legal advice.

Learn more

Find out more about:

For further information, contact our Environmental Licensing Programme at:

Office of Environmental Sustainability,
PO Box 3000
Johnstown Castle Estate
County Wexford
Telephone Locall 1890 33 55 99 or 053 91 60600
Email licensing@epa.ie