As part of efforts to improve environmental regulations, last year we proposed simplifying the regulations for septic tanks and small sewage treatment plants in less sensitive areas (most of the country) and taking a risk based approach to permitting of these systems in the most sensitive areas where a higher level of protection is needed. We proposed retaining the rules that control and prevent pollution, and for these to become known as general binding rules applying to the whole country.
Responses to the consultation broadly supported the proposals but highlighted concerns about: the loss of information that could have been gathered from registration to help support efforts to improve catchment areas and water bodies; sufficiently protecting sensitive areas and rare habitats; and that any changes needed to be communicated to households and businesses.
A government response was published in October 2014. In January 2015, new rules were introduced see www.gov.uk/small-sewage-rules The new approach focuses on making sure septic tanks and sewage treatment plants are maintained in good working order, correctly installed and not causing pollution. We are working with catchment partnerships, parish councils, service companies and others to communicate the rules to households and businesses. See our leaflet Your Sewage – Your Environment.