According to the ESA, the proposed hazardous waste national policy statement will result in developers of relatively small hazardous waste plants experiencing up to 33-fold increases in fees.
The draft statement identifies seven types of waste plants of which more are needed in England and Wales. The largest of these would fall within the nationally significant infrastructure projects (NSIP) definition under the Planning Act 2008. This applies to landfills handling at least 100,000 tonnes a year and plants that process more than 30,000 tonnes per year.
Matthew Farrow, director of policy at the ESA, said: "Whilst ESA is broadly supportive of the NPS we are concerned that some hazardous waste developments, that have until now been determined by a local planning authority, will in future be subjected to exorbitant IPC fees as the developments may well exceed the Planning Act thresholds.
"For example, a 30,000 tonne contaminated soil washing plant, which can hardly be considered nationally significant infrastructure, will fall within the scope of the Planning Act and be subject to the much higher IPC fee structure for limited benefit."
Farrow added: "A development proposal for 100kt/annum contaminated soil treatment plant would typically incur an application fee of £7,000 under the existing regime, and would be determined by a local planning authority. However, such a development would in future fall within the thresholds of national development and this would mean a 12 to 33 fold increase in fees."