Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland
You must not cause or allow a chimney or bonfire on your site to emit dark smoke. There are some exemptions from this requirement, but only if your installation won't cause emissions that could damage health or cause a nuisance.
The darker the smoke, the more polluting it tends to be. Smoke darker than a specified shade of grey is officially classified as 'dark smoke'.
A Ringelmann chart is used to define dark smoke. The chart has five shades of grey with 0 being clear and 5 being black. Smoke is considered 'dark' if it has a shade of 2 or darker.
You must prevent the emission of dark smoke from:
Industrial or trade premises include:
Your local council does not need to see the emissions of dark smoke to take action against you. Evidence of burnt materials that could cause dark smoke, such as steel reinforcement from tyres, or plastic residues is sufficient. Be aware that you cannot use a defence of lack of visual evidence, if you burn materials at night for example.
If you burn waste in an appliance, such as a furnace or boiler, you will usually require a pollution prevention and control permit, waste management licence or a waste exemption.
You must not burn waste in the open, such as on a bonfire, unless you have a waste management licence or a registered waste exemption that covers this activity.
If you have a permit, licence or waste exemption you must comply with all of its conditions.
See our guideline: Waste incineration.
The Northern Ireland Environment Agency has published a short guide to the duty of care responsibilities including advice and information for waste producers, carriers and those accepting, storing and treating waste.
Any person intending to alter the use or management of areas of uncultivated or semi-natural land must obtain prior approval from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).
Read more on the DAERA website
The NetRegs team at SEPA, in partnership with The Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales and a number of industry bodies have produced 9 new GPPs to replace out of date PPGs. More are coming! Check the available topics
New guidance for Start-ups, charities and community projects
View our latest videos & subscribe to our channel.
Free monthly email newsletter with environmental updates for Northern Ireland and Scotland