Withdrawing standard rules permit SR2010No3 – discharge to surface water: secondary treated domestic sewage with a maximum daily volume of between 5 and 20 cubic metres

Closes 18 Feb 2022

Opened 17 Nov 2021


We are consulting about our plans to withdraw and archive standard rules SR2010No3 - discharge to surface water: secondary treated domestic sewage with a maximum daily volume between 5 and 20 cubic metres

'Withdrawing and archiving' means this will no longer be available for new applicants.

Why we need to withdraw SR2010No3

The Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) recommended that UK nature conservation organisations adopt tighter targets after considering new evidence about the environmental impacts of phosphate.

We have published an evidence review showing that, overall, phosphorus breaches are widespread within Welsh Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) rivers with over 60% of waterbodies failing against the challenging targets set.

This means that our current standard rules are no longer appropriate and do not provide sufficient protection of the water environment. This is because:

  • the standard rules permits do not allow us to specify emission limits for substances in Condition 3.1
  • the distance that the discharge must be away from protected habitats and species detailed Condition 2.2 are no longer considered sufficiently protective of those habitats and species

How this will affect people applying for new permits

After the withdrawal and archiving of this standard rules permit, anyone wanting to discharge more than 5 cubic metres (5000 litres) per day of treated domestic sewage to surface water will need to apply for a bespoke environmental permit.

How this will affect people with this permit

There are currently only 8 standard rules permits for this activity in Wales.  This compares with over 5000 bespoke environmental permits for water discharges.

The withdrawal and archiving of the standard rules permit will not affect the ability of current permit holders to continue discharging in line with their existing permit.

Legislation requires us to periodically review all environmental permits.  If during this review we discover the discharge does not comply with the standard rules permit conditions, or does not meet other legislative requirements, we will work with the permit holder to bring their activity into compliance and move these discharges to a bespoke water discharge activity permit.

What a standard permit is

The Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 (EPR) allow us to make standard rule environmental permits to reduce the administrative burden on business while maintaining environmental standards.

Standard permits contain one condition which refers to a fixed set of standard rules that an operator must comply with. The rules define the activities that an operator can carry out and specify necessary restrictions on those activities, such as emission limits, or where the activity can take place.

Any operator who wishes to carry out a particular activity at a specific site or sites can look at the standard rules and, if they can comply with them, can apply for a standard permit.

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