Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

More hazardous materials topics

More hazardous materials guidance in alphabetical order

Additional resources

   

If you dispose of waste pesticides to land, you must have an authorisation from your environmental regulator. You must comply with your authorisation in order to meet the cross compliance rules of the single farm payment scheme.

Cross compliance and agri-environment schemes

What you must do

Using pesticides

Only use pesticides under the terms of their approval. These should be clearly shown on their packaging.

If you use pesticides professionally you must have received adequate training in using pesticides safely. In some circumstances you will need a qualification called a certificate of competence. In general you will need to hold the certificate if you use agricultural pesticides. Agricultural pesticides are pesticides used:

  • in agriculture
  • in horticulture (including horticulture of amenity areas such as parks, streets, sports pitches)
  • in forestry
  • in or near water
  • as industrial herbicides

Details of when you will need a certificate of competence are included in section 2 of the codes of practice for using plant protection products.

DAERA: Code of practice for using plant protection products (Northern Ireland)

Scottish Government: Code of practice for using plant protection products

If you are using pesticides, apply to the City & Guilds Land Based Services (for Northern Ireland and Scotland) or the Scottish Skills Testing Service. If you are using fumigants, apply to the British Pest Control Association.

City & Guilds Land Based Services

British Pest Control Association

When using pesticide sprayers do not use water taken from the nearby streams, rivers, lochs or ponds unless:

  • a device preventing back siphoning is fitted to the system
  • the water is first placed in an intermediate container

You must prepare pesticides for application and clean your pesticide sprayers in a way that prevents spillages, washings and run-off from entering the water environment.

In Scotland you must make sure that your pesticide application equipment is tested at least once by 26 November 2016 unless it is less than 5 years old on that date. Knapsacks and handheld sprayers are exempt. From 26 November 2015 Grandfather Rights expire and pesticide spraying must be carried out by someone with the appropriate certificate.

Scottish Government: Changes to pesticide rules

Pesticide-treated plants must not be soaked in any part of the water environment.

SRUC: GBR 23 - Application of pesticide (Scotland)

Details on filling equipment used to apply pesticides are included in section 4 of the codes of practice for using plant protection products.

DAERA: Code of practice for using plant protection products (Northern Ireland)

Scottish Government: Code of practice for using plant protection products

Aerial pesticide application

Notify the relevant authorities before aerial spraying

If you carry out aerial spraying you must make sure that:

  • the spraying is done in line with an approved Application Plan
  • specific spraying operations have been permitted by the Health and Safety Executive's (HSE) Chemical Regulation Directorate (CRD).

CRD: Aerial spraying permitting arramgements

Requirements for spraying near watercourses

You must have approval from your environmental regulator before using herbicides on aquatic weeds or weeds on the banks of watercourses such as rivers, ditches or lochs/loughs.

For certain pesticides that you apply using ground crop sprayers or broadcast air-assisted sprayers you need to maintain an aquatic buffer strip between the area you spray and watercourses. The product label will specify the width of the buffer strip that you will have to maintain.

Under certain circumstances, and depending on the pesticide used, you may be able to reduce this aquatic buffer.

If you want to reduce the width of this strip you will also need to carry out and record a Local EnvironmentalRisk Assessment for Pesticides (LERAP).

CRD: Local Environmental Risk Assessment for Pesticides

Check the codes of good agricultural practice

Northern Ireland: Code of Agricultural Practice for the Prevention of pollution of Water, Air and Soil

Scottish Government: Code of Practice for Using Plant Protection Products in Scotland

SRUC: GBR 23 information

Disposing of pesticides

You must never dispose of waste pesticide to a soakaway, watercourse or drain.

If you cannot apply dilute pesticide washings to a crop in accordance with the product label, you may be able to dispose of them to land under an authorisation from your environmental regulator.

Water pollution

You must comply with your duty of care when you deal with agricultural waste such as pesticide and pesticide containers.

If you dispose of pesticides using options other than disposal to land under an authorisation from your environmental regulator, you may need to treat pesticide waste as hazardous/special waste.

Duty of care - your waste responsibilities

Hazardous / special waste

In Scotland you may treat pesticide solution or washings in a lined biobed, but you must register an exemption with your environmental regulator before you do this. This is called a paragraph 42 exemption in Scotland.

Exemptions for agricultural waste recovery

In Northern Ireland you are no longer allowed to use a drum incinerator to burn empty pesticide containers.

In Scotland, you can use a drum incinerator in certain circumstances, but you must first register an exemption with SEPA. Contact your local SEPA office before you consider burning containers. You should first consider reusing or recycling plastic containers.

Burying and burning farm waste

SEPA: Contact details

Guidance on handling and disposing of pesticide waste, contaminated material and equipment and pesticide packaging is included in section 5 of the codes of practice for using plant protection products

DAERA: Code of practice for using plant protection products (Northern Ireland)

Scottish Government: Code of practice for using plant protection products

Good practice

Storing pesticides

Only store enough pesticide for your immediate use.

Keep pesticides in a locked, dedicated store which:

  • is as far away as possible from drains or watercourses
  • can contain spills of up to 110% of the volume of pesticide in your store, or 185% in sensitive areas such as groundwater protection zones or upstream of a water supply catchment
  • is at least 4m away from sources of ignition such as grain dryers
  • has a fire resistance of 30 minutes or longer
  • has raised shelving or pallets to put the containers on to prevent them getting damaged
  • does not have water pipes or tanks in or above it.

Check that your store does not contain pesticides that have been withdrawn from use, eg atrazine.

Further detailed guidance on how you can store pesticides safely and legally is available from the Health and Safety Executive's agriculture information sheet 16 and from section 3 of the codes of practice for using plant protection products.

Health and Safety Executive – Storing agricultural pesticides

DAERA: Code of practice for using plant protection products (Northern Ireland)

Scottish Government: Code of practice for using plant protection products

Using pesticides

To avoid wasting pesticide:

  • calculate the amount of pesticide you need for each field
  • regularly maintain and calibrate your spraying equipment

Specify an area on the farm where you will fill and rinse sprayer containers. Make sure this area is well away from drains, watercourses, wells, springs and boreholes. In Scotland this area may drain to a biobed.

Use a vegetative buffer strip next to watercourses. Do not apply pesticides to this area.

Do not apply pesticides:

  • to very steep slopes
  • when the soil is waterlogged, flooded, frozen or snow-covered
  • when heavy rain is due

Further information

The following codes of good practice provide more guidance on pesticides.

In Northern Ireland, see section 6 of the DARD 'Code of good agricultural practice for the prevention of pollution of water, air and soil', and the DARD 'Code of practice for using plant protection products'.

DAERA: Code of good agricultural practice for the prevention of pollution of water, air and soil (Northern Ireland)

DAERA:Code of practice for using plant protection products (Northern Ireland)

In Scotland, see section 9 of the 'Prevention of environmental pollution from agricultural activity (PEPFAA) code' and the 'Code of practice for using plant protection products', from the Scottish Government.

Scottish Government: Prevention of environmental pollution from agricultural activity (PEPFAA Code) 2005 (Scotland) (Adobe PDF 1.34Mb)

Scottish Government: Code of Practice for Using Plant Protection Products

The Voluntary Initiative is industry led and provides guidance on best practice, training and advice.

The Voluntary Initiative

Keep up to date with pesticides laws with our pesticides guidance.

Pesticides and biocides

The CLP Regulations (Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Hazardous Substances and Mixtures Regulations) regulate how chemicals should be classified, labelled and packaged.

If you manufacture or supply chemical substances, products or mixtures you must classify and label them according to CLP before you put them on the market.

Certain products, for example medicines, food and cosmetics, are exempt.

What you must do

Classify your chemicals

You must determine whether the chemicals or chemical products, for example paints or inks, you manufacture or supply are hazardous. This process is known as classification.

You must identify what kind of hazards your chemical or product has, including its physical-chemical properties, its effects on human heath and what happens to it in the environment.

Chemical hazards can be classified as:

  • explosive, oxidising, flammable, toxic, harmful, corrosive, irritant
  • dangerous for the environment.

Label your chemicals

If the chemicals or chemical products you manufacture or supply are classified as hazardous you must tell users about the hazards and how they can use the chemical or product safely to help protect themselves and the environment.

You must package and label your chemical or chemical product with appropriate hazard warning labels.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) provides guidance on classifying and labelling chemicals.

HSE: Labelling and packaging chemicals

HSE: Classification of chemicals

How you classify and label your chemicals and chemical products has changed now the EC Regulation on Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Substances and Mixtures (CLP Regulation) has taken affect. The CLP Regulation introduces the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).

You will need to use the new GHS system to classify, label and package :your:

  • substances, including chemical elements (eg arsenic) or compounds (eg acetone) and
  • mixtures or solutions (eg paints or inks).

Notify your chemicals to the European Chemicals Agency

If you are a chemical manufacturer or importer, you may also need to notify the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) if you place a substance on the market by itself or in a mixture. You must notify ECHA through their Classification and Labelling (C&L) inventory of:

  • substances classified as hazardous under CLP and placed on the market, no matter what the amount
  • substances classified as hazardous under CLP and placed on the market in a mixture above concentration limits specified in Annex I of CLP or in Schedule 3 of CHIP, no matter what the amount
  • substances which have to be registered under the REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals) Regulation.

You must notify the C&L Inventory within one month of placing a substance on the market. You must do this online at the REACH-IT portal on the ECHA website.

You won't have to notify the C&L Inventory if you have already used the new GHS system to provide information to ECHA on a substance's classification as part of a REACH registration.

ECHA has produced guidance, including a questions and answers document, covering the classification, labelling and packaging, and notification of substances and mixtures using the CLP Regulation.

ECHA

For more information about CLP and GHS and how this could affect your business see the HSE guidance.

HSE: GHS guidance
HSE: CLP guidance

Use safety data sheets (SDS)

If you manufacture or supply chemicals or chemical products (as substances or mixtures) which contain hazardous substances, you may need to provide a safety data sheet (SDS) with your products. This must identify the chemical's or chemical product's dangers, what precautionary measures to take and how to deal with emergencies.

Providing a SDS is now a requirement of the REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals) Regulation. For guidance about when to provide a SDS and what this should include, see the HSE safety data sheet information.

HSE: REACH and safety data sheets (Adobe PDF - 111KB
HSE: Chemical safety data sheets

If you use chemicals or chemical products you must make all staff aware of the SDS for any hazardous substance or mixtures that they handle, store or dispose of. If you receive a chemical without a SDS, contact your supplier to find out whether or not they have to provide one.

Health and safety legislation

If you store hazardous chemicals you must comply with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations to protect the health of your staff. You must assess the risks, implement measures to control exposure and establish good working practices.

You should keep a copy of the SDS for all the chemicals you use and check to see if the substances are hazardous.

For more information on COSHH, see the HSE website.

HSE: COSHH
HSE: COSHH - A brief guide to the regulations (Adobe PDF - 188KB
HSENI: Guidance pages for COSHH

Further information on classifying and labelling chemicals

European Commission: Classification, labelling and packaging of chemical substances and mixtures

You may salt or chill hides and skins to preserve them. If you chill hides and skins you should refer to the refrigeration guidance.

Refrigeration

What you must do

You must store, handle and dispose of bactericides and fungicides with extreme care.

You must have an authorisation, such as a licence, permit or consent, from your environmental regulator before you discharge any sewage, effluent or contaminated run-off to the water environment. You must comply with any conditions in your authorisation.

Contact your environmental regulator

Preventing water pollution

Trade effluent is any liquid waste you discharge from your business.

Before you discharge trade effluent into a public sewer you must have a trade effluent consent or enter into a trade effluent agreement with your water or sewerage company or authority. You must comply with the conditions of your consent or agreement.

Trade effluent - managing liquid wastes

Water UK: Water and sewerage operators

Good practice

Bactericides and fungicides are highly polluting to the water environment. You should use products with the lowest environmental impact, such as sodium or potassium di-methhyl-thiocarbamate and use them in the lowest possible concentration.

You should store raw hides and skins, whether loose or in crates, in areas where run-off will not enter surface water drains or seep into the ground.

Salt can pollute both surface waters and groundwater. You should store salt correctly to prevent it washing into drains. This will protect the environment and could also save you money. You should store salt:

  • under cover; if this is not possible, protect it from rain with an impermeable membrane
  • on an impervious base which is at least 10 metres from a watercourse.

Sweep up any spilt salt or salt that you shake off hides and skins and dispose of it as waste.

You should protect salted hides from the rain to prevent the salt being washed off.

Fuel leaks and spills cause pollution, so it is essential that you store and handle fuels safely. This includes petrol, diesel, oil, liquid petroleum gas (LPG) and solid fuels such as coal.

What you must do

Store oil safely

If you store oil, including petrol, diesel, fuel oil, lubricating oil, vegetable oils and heavy oils on your site, you need to comply with the oil storage regulations.

Oil storage

Avoid major accidents

If you store or use petroleum products on your site, you may need to comply with the Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) Regulations.

If you store more than 2,500 tonnes of petroleum products, you must have a major accident prevention policy. If you store more than 25,000 tonnes of petroleum products you must also submit a safety report and prepare an on-site emergency plan.

For more information on preventing accidents and emergency plans, see our COMAH guidance.

Control of major accident hazards (COMAH)

Good practice

Store fuels safely

Store all fuels in an area where you can contain spills. This should be within a secondary containment system (SCS) such as:

  • an impermeable bunded area
  • a drip tray
  • a bunded drum store.

The SCS should be able to contain at least 110% of the volume of the largest storage container or 25% of the total volume you are likely to store, whichever is greater.

Locate storage tanks as far away as possible from drains and watercourses.

Inspect bunds and storage containers at least once a week. If you find damaged containers, repair or replace them immediately.

Put a roof over your fuel storage area to prevent rainwater collecting in the bund and reducing its holding capacity. You must comply with your duty of care when you dispose of water that collects in bunds. If the water is contaminated you may need to deal with it as hazardous/special waste.

Install leak detection devices in storage tanks and bunds. Test all pipework for leaks when it is first installed.

Lock fuel storage tanks when they are not in use to reduce the risk of vandalism. You are responsible for any pollution incident that starts on your site, even if it was caused by vandals.

Supervise deliveries

Supervise all fuel deliveries to your site.

Clearly label all tanks with their contents and storage capacity. This will reduce the risk of overfilling and spills.

Use drip trays for all equipment and when refilling storage tanks.

Refuelling areas

Supervise all refuelling operations and only refuel in a contained area away from watercourses and surface water drains.

Isolate surface water run-off from refuelling areas from general yard drainage. Drain this run-off via an oil separator, or an alternative treatment system, to a watercourse, surface water sewer or combined sewer.

Ensure your oil separator or treatment system is properly maintained and works effectively. If your oil separator doesn't work properly, you might cause pollution, and you could be prosecuted or fined.

Label your drainage system

Keep an up-to-date and accurate drainage plan of your site. This will help you identify the locations of all the drains and sewers and where they lead.

When making a discharge to a drain or sewer, always check you are connecting to the correct system. You should only discharge uncontaminated surface water to the surface water drainage system.

Colour code your drainage system by painting manhole covers, gullies and grills using a recognised colour coding system: blue for surface water drains and red for foul water drains. This will help you to identify which system you are discharging to and where any spills will end up.

Install shut-off valves on your surface and foul water drainage lines so that you can isolate your site drainage if there is a major fuel spill.

Deal with spills

Keep absorbent materials such as sand and other containment equipment suitable for the type and quantity of fuel, oil and chemicals you store and use on your site. Keep them close to where you might need them, particularly in delivery areas. Make sure that your staff know where they are and how to use them. You can buy spill kits containing all the appropriate spill equipment for the substances you store.

Report pollution incidents as soon as they happen to the UK-wide pollution incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.

Prepare a pollution incident response procedure for dealing with spills. Make sure that your staff are familiar with the procedure and know how to implement it.

Further information on fuelling and fuel storage

PPG 2 Above ground oil storage tanks (Adobe PDF - 276KB)

PPG 3 Use and design of oil separators in surface water drainage systems (Adobe PDF – 78.6KB)

PPG 21: Pollution incident response planning

DOENI Guidance: Oil storage

Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are chemical substances that do not break down in the environment. They can travel long distances and build up in the bodies of plants and animals. They are a danger to human health and the environment.

Equipment and machinery that may contain or emit PCBs, in metal production businesses and machinery businesses include:

  • electrical transformers
  • process heating equipment
  • high temperature hydraulic systems
  • high voltage equipment
  • fluorescent light ballasts
  • electric arc furnaces.

The use of POPs is being phased out and some are already banned in the UK. Measures are also in place to help reduce their unplanned release from facilities covered by the environmental permitting or pollution prevention and control (PPC) regimes.

What substances are persistent organic pollutants?

There are currently 16 substances classed as POPs but more may be added in the future.

POPs can be grouped into pesticides, industrial chemicals and POPs that are released accidentally from combustion and some industrial processes, such as burning material and fuels. Some POPs may belong to more than one group.

Pesticides

  • aldrin
  • chlordane
  • chlordecone
  • dieldrin
  • endrin
  • heptachlor
  • hexachlorobenzene (HCB)
  • hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH), including lindane
  • mirex
  • toxaphene
  • dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT)

Industrial chemicals

  • hexabromobiphenyl
  • HCB
  • polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

POPs produced as by-products from industrial and combustion processes

  • dioxins (polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDD) and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDF))
  • HCB
  • PCBs
  • polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)

What you must do

In most cases you must not produce, market or use POPs.

There are situations when your use of POPs may be allowed. If your use is allowed and you have more than 50kg of POPs or POP-containing substances, you must notify your environmental regulator.

If you have any stores of POPs or POP-containing substances you must dispose of them correctly. If a material, waste or piece of equipment has a POP concentration at or above the thresholds stated in Annex IV of the POPs Regulation, you must dispose of it in accordance with Annex V, for example, by physico-chemical treatment or incineration.

You will also need to assess if the POP or POP-containing substance or equipment is classed as hazardous/special waste. This will place additional requirements on how you store, transport and dispose of it.

To find out how to assess and dispose of POPs contact your environmental regulator.

Contact your environmental regulator

POPs produced from industrial processes

You must avoid the unplanned release of POPs, for example, dioxins, HCB, PCBs and PAHs, from industrial activities and/or from burning material and fuels. These are the most common POPs in the environment.

Releasing POPs

POPs are only likely to be released from industrial activities that require a PPC permit. You must comply with the conditions in your permit, which will include requirements for controlling POPs releases.

Pollution prevention and control permits

Persistent Organic Pollutants in waste

If your waste has a POP concentration at or above the thresholds stated in Annex IV of the POPs Regulation, you must dispose of it safely and in accordance with Annex V, for example, by physico-chemical treatment or incineration.

If a waste contains any concentration of POPs it may be hazardous/special waste. This will place additional requirements on how you store, transport and dispose of it. You will need to assess the level of contaminants in your waste and dispose of it safely.

To find out how to assess and dispose of POPs contact your environmental regulator.

Contact your environmental regulator

Disposing and destroying waste that contains POPs

If you wish to dispose of or destroy waste that contains POPs other than by a method approved in Annex V of the POPs Regulation, you must obtain a derogation (permission to carry out an otherwise banned activity) from your environmental regulator. You will be charged a fee for any derogation application and you will have to meet certain strict conditions to get approval.

Contact your environmental regulator

Exemptions

Use of banned or restricted POPs

You must not produce, market or use POPs unless your use is allowed under Annex I or II of the POPs Regulation.

You must notify your environmental regulator if you have more than 50kg of POPs, or substances containing POPs, and your use is allowed.

Polychlorinated biphenyls in equipment

If you have any equipment containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) you will need to meet a number of other requirements.

See our PCB guidance for further information.

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

Further information on POPs

SEPA: Persistent Organic Pollutants

GOV.UK: Persistent organic pollutants

In Scotland you can search for specific information on POPs using the Scottish pollutant release inventory.

SEPA: Scottish pollutant release inventory

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are man-made chemicals. They are dangerous to human health and the environment and you must dispose of them correctly.

Equipment that often contains PCBs includes:

  • electrical transformers
  • power factor capacitors
  • heat transfer equipment
  • pole-mounted transformers
  • process heating equipment
  • high temperature hydraulic systems
  • electrical resistors
  • bushings and other high voltage equipment
  • fluorescent light ballasts
  • hospital diagnostic equipment
  • vacuum pumps.

What you must do

You must arrange for the safe disposal or decontamination of all equipment that contains PCBs as soon as possible. When the equipment is ready to be disposed of, it will be regarded as hazardous/special waste.

Hazardous/special waste

If you possess any components that contain PCBs that are part of a larger piece of equipment, and neither the component nor the larger equipment is classed as Contaminated Equipment you may continue to possess them until the larger piece of equipment is taken out of use for example, capacitors within fluorescent lighting strips. You must dispose of the equipment correctly at the end of its useful life.

Contaminated equipment

Contaminated Equipment is any equipment that contains five litres or more of any substance with a PCB concentration greater than 50 parts per million (ppm).

You must not possess Contaminated Equipment unless your business:

  • Has the proper authorisation to decontaminate or dispose of PCBs and holds them only for this reason.
  • Uses PCBs only for analytical or research work. You must ensure that you dispose of the PCBs properly when this purpose comes to an end.
  • Uses transformers with PCB oil at concentrations of no more than 500 parts per million (ppm). You can continue to use the transformer until the end of its useful life. You should still register the equipment and renew the registration annually if it contains oil with a PCB concentration at or above 50ppm.

Registration

If you possess Contaminated Equipment you must register it with your environmental regulator, even if you are about to dispose of it.

You must also register any equipment that could potentially be Contaminated Equipment unless it is reasonable to assume that it is not contaminated.

Contact your environmental regulator

You must renew your registrations annually for as long as you have the equipment.

Disposal and decontamination

You should arrange for the safe decontamination or disposal of all Contaminated Equipment you possess as soon as possible, unless you are permitted to continue possessing the equipment for the reasons outlined above.

Decontamination reduces the PCB concentration of Contaminated Equipment to less than 50ppm. When you submit your registration or renewal paperwork you should tell your environmental regulator how and when you plan to have the decontamination work done.

Contact your environmental regulator

Deregistration

You should de-register your Contaminated Equipment after its disposal, decontamination or sale.

You will need to provide evidence such as:

  • consignment note numbers
  • laboratory test reports
  • contact details of the new owner.

Any new owner of Contaminated Equipment must register it with their environmental regulator.

Contact your environmental regulator

Labelling

You must clearly label all Contaminated Equipment as containing PCBs and place warning notices on the doors of any premises where the equipment is held. Transformers that are held until the end of their useful life should also have an additional label showing they have been decontaminated to below 500ppm.

For more information, contact your environmental regulator.

Contact your environmental regulator

Further information

Northern Ireland

NIEA: Guidance on the disposal of PCBs

Scotland

Scotland: SEPA PCBs regulations guidance (Adobe PDF - 33KB)

PCBs Charging Scheme 2015 (Adobe PDF - 105KB)

Legislation

The Environmental Protection (Disposal of Polychlorinated Biphenyls and other Dangerous Substances (Scotland) Regulations 2000

The Environmental Protection (Disposal of Polychlorinated Biphenyls and other Dangerous Substances Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2000

This guidance is relevant to retailers and wholesalers who sell goods with hazardous properties such as:

  • chemicals, eg pesticides, solvents, paints
  • cleaning products, eg bleach, disinfectants
  • explosives, eg fireworks, flares
  • compressed gases, eg carbon dioxide bottles
  • flammable liquids, eg acetone, ethanol, methanol, lighter fluid
  • oil and fuels, including petrol, diesel and liquid petroleum gas (LPG)
  • biohazardous goods, eg vaccines
  • radioactive substances or products that contain radioactive substances.

What you must do

Store fuels safely

If you store oil, including fuels such as diesel, petrol or LPG, you must comply with the oil storage regulations. See our guidance on oil storage.

If you run a petrol filling station, you may need to have a pollution prevention and control (PPC) permit. For more information on permits, see our guidance on PPC permits

You must also comply with health and safety requirements for petrol filling stations. This will also help ensure you don't cause a pollution incident.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE): Dispensing petrol as a fuel - Health and safety guidance for employees

Comply with Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) regulations

If you store large quantities of dangerous substances you may need a major accident prevention policy under the Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) regulations. The COMAH regulations are likely to apply to you if you run a petrol station, or if you sell large quantities of chemicals.

For more information on preventing accidents and emergency plans, see our COMAH guidance.

Comply with the REACH Regulation

If you sell hazardous goods, you may have some responsibilities under the REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals) Regulation. The Regulation may also apply to you if you sell finished products containing certain chemicals

For more information see our guidance on REACH for retailers and wholesalers.

Provide information for customers

If you sell a chemical that is supplied with a safety data sheet (SDS) you must pass this information on to your customers. The SDS contains information about the chemical, including details of how to store, use and dispose of it safely.

If you receive a chemical without an SDS, contact your supplier to find out whether or not they have to provide one. They may have to under the REACH Regulation.

You must make sure that your products carry any relevant hazard warning labels.

See HSE guidance on chemical labelling and information.

Transport hazardous goods safely

If you use vehicles to transport chemicals - for example, between a warehouse and retail store, or to deliver directly to customers - you must label the vehicle with the correct hazard warning label for the chemicals you carry. If the chemicals are classed as dangerous goods, you must meet further requirements for packaging, labelling and documentation.

Check the Department for Transport's database to find out if your chemicals are classed as dangerous goods.

Department for Transport: Dangerous goods database

For more detailed information see HSE guidance on chemical labelling and information.

Store hazardous goods safely

If an SDS is provided with any chemicals you stock, follow the storage instructions on it.

Store vaccines and medicines safely

If you sell or dispense vaccines, medicines or controlled drugs, read our guidance for healthcare providers.

Check whether you need to register for supplying radioactive goods

If you sell or distribute any products that contain radioactive sources, you should check whether you need to have a certificate of registration from your environmental regulator. Smoke detectors, luminous signs and some types of medical equipment may contain radioactive sources.

See our guidance for retailers and wholesalers for further information.

Check if your goods contain persistent organic pollutants

If you sell or distribute hazardous goods, you should check they don't contain persistent organic pollutants (POPs) - a class of chemical that does not break down in the environment. The production and use of POPs is being phased out, and most are already banned in the UK and EU.

Many POP chemicals are former pesticides, but have been used in other ways. For example fireworks imported from outside the EU may contain the POP hexachlorobezene (HCB).

If you have or receive a product which contains a POP, you must not sell it or use it. Contact your environmental regulator to find out how to dispose of the product appropriately.

Contact your environmental regulator

For more information on what substances are affected see our guidance on POPs.

Check that the purchaser has an appropriate certificate of competence for pesticides

In Scotland it is a requirement for anyone selling plant protection products to make sure that the person who will be using the product has the appropriate certificate.

Scottish Government: Changes to the pesticides rules

Further information on hazardous goods

Other relevant NetRegs guidance

Chemical storage

Control of major accident hazards (COMAH)

Oil storage

REACH

This guidance is relevant if you sell or distribute any products that contain radioactive sources such as:

  • combine harvesters
  • smoke detectors
  • some medical equipment
  • luminous signs and instruments.

What you must do

Check if you need an environmental permit or certificate of registration for radioactive materials

You may need a certificate of registration from your environmental regulator to store, sell or distribute radioactive sources.

If you store, sell or distribute any products that contain radioactive sources, you should contact your environmental regulator to check if you need to register or get a permit.

There are some exemptions that may apply to you, particularly if you are a smaller business. For example, if you store fewer than 500 smoke detectors at any one time, then you will be exempt from having to register.

Contact your environmental regulator

Dispose of any radioactive waste appropriately

If you have waste products that contain radioactive substances, you must dispose of them as radioactive waste. If you accumulate large amounts of radioactive waste or produce radioactive waste on a regular basis, you will need to have a certificate of authorisation from your environmental regulator.

Use the NetRegs waste directory to find your nearest waste site to dispose of radioactive waste.

If you are unsure about how you should dispose of radioactive waste, contact your environmental regulator or your local council to find out.

Contact your environmental regulator

Contact your local council

Further information on radioactive materials

Radioactive substances and wastes

Health and Safety Executive (HSE): Ionising radiation - radiation protection

What you must do

In Northern Ireland

If you store oil that is not used for agricultural purposes, for example to supply fuel for a haulage business or for industrial or commercial businesses, then you will need to comply with the Oil Storage Regulations.
Oil storage

If you store oil for agricultural use on a farm your storage facilities must comply with certain regulations if you store more than 1,250 litres of fuel oil and the storage tank was constructed on or after 1 December 2003.

Older storage facilities are normally exempt from the regulations. However, you may have to carry out improvement work if your environmental regulator considers that your facilities could cause pollution.

You must notify the NIEA in writing at least 28 days before you use new or substantially reconstructed or enlarged fuel storage areas.
Contact NIEA

You must construct all storage installations to last for at least 20 years with proper maintenance.

The entire installation must be at least 10 metres from any waterway.

The fuel oil storage area must be surrounded by a bund. The bund and the base of the storage area must be impermeable.

If you have only one oil storage container in a bund, the bund must be able to hold 110% of its volume.

If you have more than one container in a bund, the bund must be able to hold whichever of the following is greater:

  • 25% of the total volume of the containers
  • 110% of the largest container's volume.

The bund walls must be so that they contain any fuel that may jet from the side of a tank.

Locate taps and valves within the bund and design them to discharge downwards to make sure any leaks do not jet over the side of the bund. When not in use, switch off and lock shut all taps and valves.

Fit a nozzle with an automatic shut-off device to any flexible discharge pipe that is permanently attached to a fuel tank. Lock the pipe within the bund when it is not in use.

In Scotland

You must comply with the Oil Storage Regulations for any oil that you store, including agricultural fuel oil. The storage of less than 2,500 litres of oil intended for use exclusively as a fuel for heating a farmhouse or other residential premises on a farm is exempted from these regulations.

The main requirements for the storage of oil are:

  • The container must be strong enough to hold the oil without leaking or bursting.
  • The container must be positioned to avoid damage (for example, as the result of impact from any vehicle), as far as is reasonably practicable.
  • Where the container has a storage capacity of 200 litres or more, it must be within a secondary containment system (bund or drip tray) that will catch any oil leaking from the container or its ancillary pipe work and equipment.
  • If there is only one storage container the secondary containment system must be large enough to hold at least 110% of the maximum contents of the container. If there is more than one container in the secondary containment, the bund must be capable of storing at least 110% of the largest tank or 25% of the total storage capacity, whichever is the greater (in the case of drums the tray/bund size should be at least 25% of total storage capacity).
  • Oil stored in mobile bowsers must also be bunded.
  • The bund base and walls must be impermeable to water and oil and must be checked regularly for leaks.
  • With some exceptions, valves, filters, sight gauges, vent pipes and other ancillary equipment must be kept within the bund when not in use.
  • Above-ground pipe work must be properly supported.
  • Below-ground pipe work must be protected from physical damage (such as due to excessive surface loading, ground movement or disturbance) and have adequate leakage detection. If mechanical joints have to be used, they should be readily accessible for inspection.

Oil storage

If you carry out fuelling activities that could cause water pollution, for example if your activities are close to a watercourse, you must comply with certain General Binding Rules (GBR10 and GBR11). You can find more information about these in SEPA’s CAR Practical guide.
SEPA: The Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations 2011 (as amended) (CAR) - A Practical Guide (Adobe PDF - 540KB)

Good Practice

In Northern Ireland, see section 9 of the DARD code of good practice for water, air and soil.
DAERA: Code of good agricultural practice for the prevention of pollution of water, air and soil

In Scotland, see good practice guidance on oil storage and use in the Pollution Prevention Guidelines (PPGs) 2 (‘Above ground oil storage tanks’), and 7 (‘Refuelling facilities’)
PPGs

Useful Links

Oil Care Campaign

DOENI: SSAFO Guidance leaflet

SEPA: Oil storage regulations

Wood preservatives can be harmful to the environment and toxic to many animals and plants particularly aquatic life including fish and aquatic insects and plants.

Commonly used wood preservatives for treating wood and timber products include:

  • water-based preservatives, eg alkaline copper quaternary (ACQ), copper azole or other copper-containing solutions or boron compounds
  • solvent-based preservatives, eg permethrins and azoles dissolved in white spirit
  • fire retardant chemicals, likely to contain halogenated organic compounds
  • creosote.

What you must do

All wood preservative and treatment products must be approved under the Control of Pesticide Regulations or the Biocidal Products Regulations (BPR) before they can be sold and used.

If you use a wood preservative or treatment product you must make sure:

  • it has approval from the relevant registration authority
  • you use the substance as instructed on the label and the safety data sheet.

For further information about the approval of pesticide and biocidal products see our pesticides and biocides guidance.

You may need to deal with the following materials and substances as hazardous/special waste:

  • old or unusable wood preservatives and treatment solutions
  • preservative or treatment containers
  • water collected in sealed sumps serving areas used to store treated timbers.

You must comply with your duty of care responsibilities when dealing with waste.

Your waste responsibilities

Creosote

You can only use creosote or creosote-related substances to treat wood for industrial or professional purposes - for example, to treat railway sleepers or telegraph poles, for fencing and agricultural purposes and harbours and waterways.

You cannot normally use these substances for other purposes. You must not use wood that has been treated with these substances inside any buildings, in toys or in playgrounds.

You cannot place wood that has been treated with creosote on the market, except for industrial or professional use, or if the wood is subject to an exemption for wood placed on the secondhand market and treated prior to 31 December 2002.

HSE:Creosote/ coal tar creosote wood treatmentse

If you store old creosote, you must dispose of it as hazardous/special waste. Do not pour creosote down a drain, onto land or into streams, rivers or watercourses.

Hazardous/special waste

Wood preservatives and treatments containing chromium and arsenic

You can no longer use copper, chromium, arsenic (CCA) type preservatives to treat timber in the UK.

All wood preserving products containing arsenic and chromium were banned from sale from 1 September 2006, following their review under the BPR review programme.

CCA treated wood already in use is not affected.

If CCA treated wood is imported from outside the EU it can only be used for professional and industrial purposes where users do not come into repeated skin contact with it, for example highway safety fencing.

Other wood treatment products

The BPR review programme is looking at the status of other products and substances used in the UK for preserving wood including creosote, copper and permethrins.

Always check that the product you are using as a wood preservative is approved as this is subject to change.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE): Biocides and pesticides

Storing and handling wood preservatives

Avoid storing large quantities of wood preservatives or other treatments as any leaks from them can pollute surface waters and groundwater. You should store preservatives correctly to prevent them washing into drains. This will protect the environment and could also save you money. You should store wood preservatives and other treatments:

  • in an appropriately sized and designed dedicated store or under cover
  • within suitable secondary containment systems or on a solid base at least 10 metres from a watercourse
  • away from sources of ignition
  • where the risk of damage from vehicle movements or vandalism is low.

You should have a pollution incident response procedure for dealing with spills. Ensure your staff are familiar with the procedure and how to implement it. Report pollution incidents as soon as they happen to the UK wide incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.

Good practice

Always establish the 'need to treat' before using timber preservatives. There are different levels of treatment for timbers depending on their end use. You may find the following British Standards useful to determine the correct level of treatment:

  • BS 5268-5 1989: Structural use of timber. Code of practice for the preservative treatment of structural timber
  • BS 5589 1989: Code of practice for the preservation of timber

These are available from British Standards Online. You can buy copies of the full standards or view summaries by registering on their website.

British Standards Online

Consider changing your product or structure design to help minimise use of preservatives and coatings where possible. This will help make reuse and recycling easier.

You should try to minimise your use of solvent-based preservatives. Regularly review the preservatives you use and where possible use water-based alternatives.

Train all staff in the safe and efficient handling and use of timber treatments and preservatives.

You should store any treated timbers or wood products on a solid base in areas where run-off will not enter surface water drains or seep into the ground.

Ensure that you always follow any warning labels on treated timber about its use and storage.

Segregate your treated wood waste. This may need to be treated as hazardous/special waste.

Hazardous/special waste

Further information

Wood Protection Association

If you have x-ray equipment, you are likely to produce:

  • waste fixer
  • waste developer
  • empty fixer and developer containers
  • waste film.

Disposing of x-ray photochemicals

Waste x-ray photochemicals and their containers are classified as hazardous/special waste. You must store, transport and dispose of this waste as hazardous/special waste to make sure you do not cause a risk to human health or the environment. You are committing an offence if you do not follow the regulations for dealing with hazardous/special waste.

Hazardous/special waste

You must not mix hazardous/special waste with your other waste or with other types of hazardous/special waste. Segregate your waste so that different wastes types do not get contaminated.

Segregating your waste

You must complete consignment notes for any hazardous/special waste that leaves your site. You must keep a register containing all of the consignment notes and the consignee returns. You must keep these records for three years.

You must ensure that your waste is stored, handled, recycled or disposed of safely and legally. You must comply with your waste responsibilities, known as your duty of care.

Your waste responsibilities

You should send x-ray photochemical waste for recovery or recycling.

Containers for x-ray photochemicals

You must store waste x-ray photochemicals in appropriate leak-proof containers.

You must store fixer and developer in separate containers. You must not mix them.

You must label all containers that hold x-ray photochemicals.

How to complete the waste paperwork

Classifying and describing x-ray photochemical waste

If you have segregated your waste according to this guidance, you will need to classify the waste in the consignment note as follows:

Water based x-ray developer

Use the European waste catalogue code 09 01 01*

Example description: X-ray developer

Fixer solutions (non-bleach)

Use the European waste catalogue code 09 01 04*

Example description: X-ray fixer

You should not enter non-hazardous waste codes on consignment notes. You should describe and code each hazardous waste present on the consignment note.

Digital X-ray cameras

You can avoid the need for X-ray photochemicals by installing digital X-ray equipment. This has the added advantage of using considerably lower levels of X-rays.

Further information

GOV.UK: Safe management of healthcare waste (UK-wide)

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