Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland
Energy can be generated on site using gas, oil or by-products and waste as fuel. If you produce energy or steam on your site and you have a generator, furnace or boiler with a rated thermal input above the threshold levels, you will require a permit from your environmental regulator.
You need a Part A pollution prevention and control (PPC) permit for appliances with a rated thermal input of 50 megawatts (MW) or more burning fuels (including those that have passed the NIEA's end-of-waste test).
You need a Part C PPC permit for appliances with a rated thermal input of 20 to 50MW burning fuels, or a combination of appliances which when added together, have a net rated thermal input exceeding 20 megawatts but less than a rated thermal input of 50 megawatts. This includes those that have passed the NIEA's end-of-waste test.
Part A is regulated by the NIEA and Part C by your district council.
You need a Part A pollution prevention and control (PPC) permit for:
You need a Part B PPC permit for:
Existing appliances with a rated thermal input of between 1 and 20 megawatts with have to obtain a PPC Part B permit by:
PPC Permits are regulated by SEPA.
Most waste burning activities are covered by the WID. If you burn solid or liquid waste in your furnace or boiler you will usually require a WID-compliant Part A PPC permit. See our guideline: Waste incineration.
If you have a permit it will have conditions that control emissions from your boiler or furnace. You must comply with all of the conditions in your permit. Your permit may contain conditions for levels of noise, vibration, odour, dust and smoke emissions.
Your district council must approve your plans and specifications before you can use a new furnace (except a domestic furnace) in a building, fixed boiler or industrial plant, or if you make changes to an existing furnace.
Talk to your local council about grit and dust arrestment if you do not have a PPC permit and your furnace is going to be used to burn:
If you install a new furnace, it must be able to operate continuously without emitting smoke when burning the type of fuel it has been designed to use. Planning permission or a building warrant from your local council is not sufficient for you to construct a chimney or plant.
If you are in a Smoke Control Area, you can only use authorised fuels or exempted furnaces or boilers. In such areas, the emission of any smoke at any time from a chimney is an offence, with only a few exceptions. You could be fined £1,000 for each offence.
If you wish to install a combustion appliance that burns biomass (most commonly wood and including wood pellets), such as domestic wood burning stoves or bigger combined heat and power plant, you need to take a number of issues into consideration:
Contact your environmental regulator
You must not use gas oils with a sulphur content higher than 0.1 per cent by weight.
You must not use heavy fuel oils with a sulphur content higher than 1 per cent by weight. This does not apply if your plant came into operation after 1 July 1987 and you hold a PPC permit that contains conditions limiting sulphur dioxide emissions.
If you operate a pre-1987 combustion plant and you do not require a permit, you can either limit the sulphur content of your fuel to the 1 per cent limit or you must apply for a sulphur content of liquid fuels permit from:
You must meet any chimney and emission requirements that your local council applies to your furnace or boiler. See the page in this guideline: Boilers and furnaces: chimney and emission limits.
Boilers and furnaces: environmental authorisations
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