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Water Act 2003

394. .Section 87: Transfer of discharge consents.

It is an offence under the WRA to discharge sewage or trade effluent into controlled waters (i.e. rivers, estuarial, coastal or groundwaters) without permission from the EA.

395.Anyone wishing to discharge effluent into controlled waters in England and Wales must therefore first make an application to the EA. The EA carries out a statutory application process which involves public newspaper advertising and consultation before it considers whether or not to approve an application.

396.If the EA decides to approve an application it may issue a discharge consent which sets out the terms of the discharge. In addition, each discharge consent will contain a number of specific conditions which the consent holder must meet. Failure to meet the terms of the consent or any of the conditions is a breach of consent and could lead to enforcement action by the EA.

397.The legislation includes provisions which allow the transfer of a discharge consent to another person who proposes to carry on the discharge in place of the existing holder. This is to cover situations where, for example, ownership of a factory may have changed hands, but the manufacturing process remains the same, as does the nature of the discharge.

498.The EA has encountered some difficulties in registering these transfers due to the lack of a statutory procedure.

399.This section amends paragraph 11 of Schedule 10 to the WRA and provides for a joint notice procedure, including any prescribed information and that if notice is duly given, the Agency shall effect the transfer.

400.Schedule 10 to the WRA also contains provisions which set out the position on the transfer of a consent where death of the consent holder occurs, or where the consent holder becomes insolvent or bankrupt and action is taken against them. In its present form, paragraph 11 of Schedule 10 provides that consents cannot be disclaimed. This section serves no useful purpose since the Agency already has appropriate powers to deal with any problems that might arise either as a breach of conditions or if an illegal discharge is made. This section therefore also repeals paragraph 11(4) of Schedule 10.

401.Provisions under this section are devolved to the Assembly.

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