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Waste Oil Burner Permit

The burning of waste oil (which includes recovered oil) in an appliance with a rated thermal input of less than 3 Megawatts (MW) is subject to local authority control. Such an appliance, known as a Small Waste Oil Burner (SWOB), will require an Environmental Permit with the local authority, as the burning of waste oil can give rise to a number of pollutants including metals, sulphur dioxide and hydrogen chloride.

It is an offence to burn waste oil in an appliance without an Environmental Permit. 

Waste oil burners of 3 MW or more are subject to control by the Environment Agency and not the Local Authority.


A SWOB requires a permit under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010.

If you intend to operate a SWOB under 3 MW then you will need to contact your local authority for a permit. If a permit is granted then it will contain conditions imposed by the authority that must be complied with by law. Such conditions aim to ensure that pollution from a SWOB is minimised.

Eligibility Criteria

Only a person who has control over the operation of a regulated facility may obtain or hold an Environmental Permit. This person is the “operator”. A permit application may be made by an agent on behalf of the operator.

How much does it cost?

Fees are required for the application for a permit, annual subsistence of the permit and transfers of the permit. The fees are reviewed annually so for this year's fees please view the fee information.

When should you apply for a permit?

A permit must be obtained before you start to operate the SWOB. The Local Authority can take up to 3 months to process an application for a permit and so you must ensure that you allow enough time to obtain the permit before you to start operating. You should also contact the Local Authority Planning Department as planning permission may be required to erect the flue to service the SWOB.

How do I apply?

You can apply by any of the following means:

  • Using our online application form This service requires an online payment; you will be taken to the secure payment facility upon submission of this form.
  • Download the application form at the bottom of this page. You can send us a completed and signed application form together with a cheque for the correct amount or bringing it to us in person at our offices.
  • Contacting us in writing, telephone or email. Please use the contact forms below to request an application form.

Application Evaluation Process

Pre- application discussions between operators and regulators can help in improving the quality of the formal permit application and are therefore encouraged. The permit application must be made on the form provided, it must include all the information required by the form and it must be accompanied by the relevant fee.

If the application is correctly made and includes the relevant fee it will be “duly made” which means it has been accepted by the Council.

The permit application will not be duly made if for instance;

  • It has not been submitted on the correct form,

  • It does not adequately address a key point in the application,

  • The relevant fee does not accompany the permit application.

We aim to decide whether an application has been duly made within 10 working days of receipt.

How long will my application take to process?

A local authority should determine an application for a SWOB environmental permit 3months of the application being duly made.

This time period of 3 months does not include any time taken for the request for additional information.

We will confirm that we have received your application. Please contact us if you have any queries using the details below.

Can I start to operate a permitted process without a permit being issued? (i.e. will tacit consent apply)

No. It is illegal to operate a permitted process without a permit being issued.

No new installation or substantial change to an existing installation may be operated without a permit or variation. It is an offence under EP regulation 38(1)(a) to operate a regulated facility without a permit and to the extent authorised by that permit.

The charging scheme for fees specifies a higher than normal fee for applications made where an operator has been operating a listed activity unlawfully without a permit.

In the event that new categories of activity are subsequently added by future amendments to the EP Regulations, those amendment Regulations will include deadlines by which applications must be made for new and existing installations.

If you have not heard from us within a reasonable period, please contact us using the details below.

Your Right of Appeal

Any person aggrieved by a refusal to be granted a permit or by any condition to which a permit is subject may appeal to the Planning Inspectorate who may give such directions regarding the permit or its conditions as it thinks proper.

Making a complaint

If you feel we have failed to provide you with good service or are concerned about the progress of your application, please contact us and we will endeavour to resolve any concerns you may have. We also have a formal complaints procedure.

Trade Associations

It is advisable to contact your trade association for advice about completing the permit application form and methodology for compliance with the legislation.

Where can I get further information?

Please visit the DEFRA website for further information.

Contact Details

  • Name Environmental Safety and Health
  • Address Directorate of the Urban Environment, 4 Ednam Road, Dudley, West Midlands DY1 1HL
  • Telephone 0300 555 2345