The classification system is defined depending on the threshold indicated in the nomenclature of classified installations. If a facility includes several classified installations, one of which is required to hold a permit, the entire facility is required to hold a permit, in accordance with the principle of connexity (environmental code).
The classification system is the determinant criterion for the effective enforcement of the law as this system determines the legal, technical and financial framework within which the installation may be created or may continue to operate.
There are four levels of classification :
3Non classified (NC)3
All the activities of the facility are below the classification thresholds of the nomenclature. The facility is not a classified installation. It comes under the mayor’s authority.
The classified installation must issue a declaration to the Prefect before start-up. The risk is then deemed acceptable, provided that standard national operational requirements, called “standard orders”, are complied with.
3Declaration with monitoring (DC)3
The classified installation must issue a declaration to the prefect before start-up and is also subject to periodic monitoring (Environmental code, regulatory section, book V articles R512-56 to R512-66 and R514-5) carried out by an organization approved by the Ministry for ecology, sustainable development and spatial planning.
The classified installation exceeding this activity threshold must submit an application for a permit before start-up, demonstrating risk acceptability. The Prefect may authorise or refuse the operation. If authorised, a permit order is issued on a case by case basis.
3Permit with easements (AS)3
Roughly corresponding with the “Seveso upper tier” sites as defined by the “Seveso II” European directive, these installations present technological risks ; the approach is the same as with the permit but public easements are added in order to prevent third parties from settling near these high-risk activities.