Operating permit for a waste incineration or co-incineration plant

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The disposal of waste by incineration must be a last resort for waste that cannot be recovered. Insofar as possible, it must be combined with the thermal recovery of the heat generated during the combustion process.

The requirement for an operating permit for a waste incineration or co-incineration plant aims to prevent or reduce to a minimum the negative effects of incineration on humans and the environment.

The operating permit application with respect to a waste incineration or co-incineration plant is submitted at the same time as the classified establishment operating permit application but shall systematically be subject to a separate authorisation.

Who is concerned?

All waste incineration or co-incineration plants (such as cement works) require a permit, with the exception of plants incinerating only the following types of waste:

  • vegetable waste from agriculture and forestry;
  • vegetable waste from food processing, if the heat generated is recovered;
  • fibrous vegetable waste from virgin pulp or pulp paper production if it is co-incinerated at the place of production and the heat generated is recovered;
  • wood waste, with the exception of wood waste likely to contain halogenated organic compounds or heavy metals following treatment with wood preservatives or the application of a wood coating, including in particular this kind of wood waste coming from construction or demolition works;
  • cork waste;
  • radioactive waste;
  • animal carcasses coming under European Regulation 1774/2002;
  • waste resulting from off-shore oil and gas prospecting and exploitation and incinerated on these off-shore facilities.

Moreover, experimental research, development and testing facilities aiming to improve the incineration process are not concerned by this regulation, as long as the total quantity of waste incinerated annually does not exceed 50 tonnes.

Waste incineration or co-incineration plants are listed under class 1 of the nomenclature of classified establishments.

An application must be submitted in 2 cases:

  • a classified establishment permit application for the construction and/or operation of an incineration or co-incineration plant;
  • substantial modification of an existing plant by expanding from an incineration / co-incineration plant for non-hazardous waste to a plant for hazardous waste.

How to proceed

Preparing the dossier

As the operating permit application for a waste incineration / co-incineration plant is submitted at the same time as the classified establishment operating permit application, all the documents required for this dossier must be assembled.

Specifically with regard to a waste incineration or co-incineration plant, the following information must be gathered and checked:

  • precise description and origin of the waste to be accepted, stored and/or treated, with their European Waste Codes (EWC or CED2 in French);
  • detailed description of the procedures, machinery and/or equipment used to treat the waste;
  • plan of the site, including the place of storage of the waste in question;
  • contact details and permit numbers of the transportation / trading companies of the waste resulting from the treatment carried out;
  • presentation of the methods used to record data relating to the waste treated;
  • estimate of the cost of closing the site and, where applicable, of the management of the site following closure.

Where applicable, additional documents or information may be requested:

Requesting or renewing a permit

For the permit application, information specific to operational aspects of the facility is included in the classified establishment operating permit application.

Conditions specific to operations, as well as the validity of the permit are specified on the operating permit.

The orders include the following:

  • a list of the fractions of waste admitted according to their European Waste Codes (EWC, or CED2 in French);
  • the technical and operating conditions of equipment (auxiliary burner(s), exhaust gas temperatures, duration for which exhaust gases stay in the firebox, etc.);
  • procedures for sampling and measuring air and water pollutants;
  • the limit values for emissions of each pollutant according to their reading frequency;
  • the requirements to be complied with in the event of abnormal functioning, etc.

Operating an incineration / co-incineration plant

The operators of approved waste incineration / co-incineration plants are obliged, inter alia, to:

  • entrust the management of the site to a technically-qualified natural person who will be in charge of the professional and technical training of staff;
  • designate a contact person and a replacement person in charge of environmental issues;
  • have diplomas and/or certificates providing proof of the practical experience of staff;
  • respect the waste acceptance procedures by checking the required documents, visually inspecting the waste and, where applicable, taking samples;
  • draw up acceptance criteria approved by an approved entity for the waste intended for acceptance;
  • conclude an acceptance agreement with the producer or holder of waste prior to acceptance thereof;
  • have control procedures for accepted waste approved by an approved entity;
  • prepare internal regulations and send said regulations to the competent supervisory authorities;
  • establish and keep a journal relating to the management of the site (type of waste, quantity, origin, delivery date, identity of the producer, etc.);
  • prepare a manual of all the different work procedures;
  • set up a financial guarantee or any equivalent means to cover the estimated cost of the closure of the site and its subsequent management;
  • take all the necessary precautions in order to avoid accidents linked to the operation of the site and minimise the consequences thereof;
  • have the site approved by an approved entity before it becomes operational;
  • have an approved entity carry out regular checks on pollutant release, meters, certain technical equipment, etc.;
  • provide the Environment Authority with annual reports indicating the types and quantities of waste disposed of and the result of the monitoring and supervision operations carried out on the waste and on the release of pollutants. This report may require additional information for plants with a capacity of 2 tonnes or more per hour, in which case it will be made available to the public;
  • notify the Environment Authority when ceasing the activities included in the order.

Online services and forms

Who to contact

Environment Agency

2 of 8 bodies shown

Related procedures and links


'Nature protection' permit Water permit Operating permit for a waste treatment facility Environmental impact assessment (EIA) Classified establishments ('commodo/incommodo')


Legal references

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