In 2016, MoEF&CC amended the EIA Notification, 2006, wherein it stated that there would be no requirement to obtain fresh EC for any change in configuration of the plant after detailed engineering during development of the project, provided there is no change in the production or pollution load of the project. The amendment was done in Regulation 7(ii) of the EIA notification with respect to “prior EC process for modernization or expansion or change of product mix in existing projects” Subsequently, in 2020, another amendment was brought to this provision which exempted fresh EC in case of any change in raw material or product-mix, change in quantities within the product/s or the number of products in the same category. However, there shuldn’t be any increase in pollution load and the resultant increase in production is not more than 50 per cent of the production capacity permitted in the earlier EC. This amendment provided flexibility to the project proponent and existing industries from fresh environmental clearance in case of a change in plant configuration by obtaining a No increase in pollution load certificate.
The Ministry again issued a notification in 2021 with respect to ‘no increase in pollution load’, based on representations filed by the processing, production and manufacturing sector for permitting project proponents to increase the production capacity of their existing projects without going through entire EIA process again if there is no increase in pollution load.
This provided the project proponent an exemption from the requirement of fresh EC for any increase in production capacity in respect of production or manufacturing sectors (listed against item numbers 2,3,4 and 5 in the schedule to the notification of 2006) with or without any change in raw material mix product mix quantities within products or the number of products including new products falling in the same category of the plant or operations for which prior EC has been granted, provided there is no increase in pollution load.
Present Criteria to Apply For No Increase in Pollution Load Certificate
Now in the case of an increase in production capacity in respect of processing or production or manufacturing sectors that are listed against item numbers 2,3, 4 and 5 in the schedule to the 2006 EIA notification (derived based on Prior Environmental Clearance), a project proponent can directly move to obtain No increase in pollution load certificate given that there has been no change in the following factors
- Raw Material-Mix Or
- Product-Mix Or
- Quantities Within Products Or
- Number Of Products, Including New Products Falling In The Same Category Or
- Configuration Of The Plant Or Process Or Operations In The Existing Area Or In Areas Contiguous To The Existing Area
Note: As per the latest notification, the project proponent must furnish information regarding such changes, along with no increase in pollution load certificate, from the environmental auditor or reputed institutions empanelled by the SPCB or Pollution Control Committee (PCC) or Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) or Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, on PARIVESH portal.
Process of Application for NO Increase in Pollution Load Certificate
The project proponent must obtain a certificate of no increase in the pollution load from the Environmental Auditors and reputed institutions to be empanelled by the State Pollution Control Board / Central Pollution Control Board / Ministry. If the unit applies to the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB). The proponent, along with their last Consent to Operate (CTO) certificate, must follow the given process
Step 1: Online Application Process
- Login to the PARIVESH portal with their user ID and password. In case the applicant is not registered, he can register by providing basic details as a project proponent.
- Continue with the user Login and then click on intimation with respect to No increase in pollution load certificate per any increase in production capacity/change in Product or raw material mix.
- Next, select appropriate answers to the questionnaire and give the details and upload supporting documents wherever needed.
- Fill in project details in the given format and upload the details along with supportive documents in the format specified.
- Next, accept the undertaking, click on view the preview of acknowledgement, and read it carefully.
- If all details are shown correctly, click download and print to receive a physical copy of the acknowledgement.
Documents/ Details Needed
- Name of the Project or Activity
- Name of Project Proponent
- Address for the correspondence with Telephone and e-mail address
- Category of the project as per schedule, as per the schedule of EIA Notification, 2006.
- Location of the Project
- Details of contiguous area (upload the supportive documents in case activity proposed to be carried out in contiguous area).
- Details of Consent under the Air Act, Water Act, authorization under HWM Rules, details of Effluent Generation etc., by uploading the supportive document in the specified format
- Approval for additional water consumption, if applicable, at the time of No increase in pollution load certificate.
Stage 2: Scrutiny of the Application
The application for a No increase in pollution load certificate will be scrutinized at Regional Officer / Unit Head Level, and the applicant shall be asked to submit specific information in a format (Annexure -‘A’).
Stage 3: Examination by Technical Committee
The information so received will be examined by the Technical Committee constituted for this purpose comprising of officers from State Pollution Control Boards, Central Pollution Control Board and four external experts drawn from the academic / research institutes to be nominated by the Principal Secretary Environment of the State Government / Union Territory.
Stage 4: Presentation before Technical Committee
The applicant, along with environmental auditors, will make a presentation before the Technical Committee. The committee will examine the details received from the applicant and the environmental auditors and the report of the scrutiny done by the State Pollution Control Board officers. The meetings of the Technical Committee are held at least once a month where the applications for a No increase in pollution load certificate can be dealt with.
Stage 5: Issue of Certificate
Based on the deliberations and the scrutiny, the Technical Committee will make its recommendations. Based on the recommendations by the Technical Committee, the SPCBs will take a decision w.r.t the application received for change in the consent to operate for the purpose of change in the product mix. The decision taken by the Board in the form of online Consent/Rejection Order (No increase in pollution load certificate) will be conveyed through e-mail and text to the applicant.
In conclusion, it must be noted that any change in production-mix, changes in quantities within products or number of products in the same category for which EC has been granted earlier, are exempted from prior EC provided that there is no change in the total capacity sanctioned in EC given earlier and there is no increase in the pollution load. The project proponent, however, has to follow the procedure for obtaining a No increase in Pollution Load certificate from the concerned SPCB as per the provisions given in Appendix-XlV of the notification. However, the project proponent can simplify this process by seeking assistance from experts and certified consultants dealing with the EC process.