All industrial processes have the potential to release pollution to land, air and water. This pollution can pose a health risk to people as well as damaging the environment. To prevent this, industrial processes are tightly regulated as part of the Environment Act 1995 in order to minimise, and to manage, their environmental impacts.
This regulatory regime is known as "environmental permitting", it has previously been known as integrated pollution prevention and control (IPPC) and pollution prevention and control (IPC).
If you are an operator of industrial processes that are prescribed under The Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations
2016, you must hold an environmental permit to legally operate the process.
The gov.uk site explains environmental permits and how to apply for one.
It is an offence for any person/company to operate a permitted (prescribed) activity without a valid permit. The regulatory responsibility for this permitting regime is split between the council and the Environment Agency.