Cost of Permits for Habitat Work Set to Rocket?

Monday, 18th December 2017

The Environment Agency (England) make charges to review and approve applications to carry out most work in the river. This process, called Environmental Permitting, is something that WTT (and its partners such as rivers trusts and angling clubs) goes through for most projects that we deliver on a ‘main river’.

The principle of the Environmental Permitting Regulations (EPR) is good. Everyone – farmers, contractors, fishing clubs, charities - must ensure that the work that they are doing will improve the river and not cause any issues such as flooding.

However, the costs associated with this process are planned to increase substantially and will become a significant element in the types of habitat improvement projects that we deliver.  We operate with limited and fixed budgets for our projects, so in practice this means we will spend more on obtaining a permit and less on actually delivering the habitat improvement.
In some cases, the cost of obtaining a permit will be prohibitive; clearly something we want to avoid.
The proposed charging scheme is complex and we’re working our way through it, but, as an example, it seems that work to protect a piece of eroding bank, more than 10m in length, using brash (so-called ‘soft’ engineering) will incur a permit charge of over £1000.

Before implementing these changes (planned for April 2018), the EA are carrying out a consultation; see here.

If you have an interest in river habitat improvement work, please respond to the EPR section of this consultation by 26 January 2018.
We’ll publish our response on our website ahead of this date.