Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Air pollution environmental legislation

Air pollution environmental legislation


This page provides links to the full text of key pieces of environmental legislation relating to air pollution. The websites hosting the legislation may list amendments separately.

If you are setting up an environmental management system (EMS) for your business, you can use this list to start compiling your legal register. Your legal adviser or environmental consultant will be able to tell you if other environmental legislation applies to your specific business. See the NetRegs Environmental Topic Environmental management systems and environmental reports.


Northern Ireland

Clean Air (Emission of Dark Smoke) Regulations (Northern Ireland) SI 1981/340. Makes it an offence to emit dark smoke from industrial or trade premises, with detailed exemptions. Sets conditions for some burning. (Waste management licensing legislation may apply to these activities too). Not available online.

Clean Air (Northern Ireland) Order SI 1981/158 (including amendments). Sets out controls on smoke, dust and fumes, including rules on chimneys, and introduces Smoke Control Areas.

Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 Sets out the rules on statutory nuisance and the enforcement powers available to district councils.

Sulphur Content of Liquid Fuels Regulations (Northern Ireland) SR 2007/272. Implements measures for reducing the sulphur content of heavy fuel oils (excluding marine fuels).

Sulphur Content of Liquid Fuels (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2014 SR 147 Amends the Sulphur Content of Liquid Fuels Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2007 in order to implement amendments to Directive 1999/32/EC, relating to a reduction in the sulphur content of certain liquid fuels, with regard to marine fuels.

Smoke Control Areas (Authorised Fuels) Regulations (Northern Ireland) SR 2013/205. Contain the current list of fuels authorised for use in smoke control areas, for the purposes of the Clean Air (NI) Order 1981.

Smoke Control Areas (Authorised Fuels) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015 SR367. Amend the Smoke Control Areas (Authorised Fuels) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013, to add two new fuels to the list of fuels declared to be authorised fuels. A further entry has been included as a substitute for Ecoal briquettes (in paragraph 21 of the Schedule), due to a number of changes to the product.



Clean Air (Emission of Dark Smoke) (Exemption) (Scotland) Regulations SI 1969/1389. Exempts from the Clean Air Regulations the emission of dark smoke caused by burning certain materials, subject to specified conditions, eg timber from a building demolition. Not available online.

Clean Air Act 1993. Bans the emission of dark smoke from chimneys and furnaces, sets minimum chimney heights and created smoke control areas.

Dark Smoke (Permitted Periods) (Scotland) Regulations SI 1958/1933. Allows dark smoke to be emitted for a specified total duration within an eight-hour period, or longer if it involves soot blowing. Not available online.

Environmental Protection Act 1990. Defines the legal framework for duty of care for waste, contaminated land and statutory nuisance.

Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations 2012 (SSI 2012/360). Sets out a system to control pollution from any installation or mobile plant carrying out specified activities through permits, inspections and control of emissions. Covers the inclusion of best available techniques (BAT) and standard rules in permits. Replaces (revokes) previous PPC and Solvent Emissions legislation.

Smoke Control Areas (Authorised Fuels) (Scotland) Regulations SSI 2010/271 (as amended). Specifies the fuels authorised for use within Smoke Control Areas under the Clean Air Act 1993.

Sulphur Content of Liquid Fuels (Scotland) Regulations 2014 No 258. Prohibits the use of heavy fuel oil with a sulphur content greater than 1% or the use of gas oil with a sulphur content greater than 0.1%. They revoke the 2007 Regulations.


Further information

You may also need to know about and comply with legislation on:

PPC Permits

Waste management licences

Noise odour and other nuisances

Find other current and future environmental legislation that may affect your business on the NetRegs website.

Environmental legislation


In this guideline

Causes and effects of air pollution

Business benefits of improving air quality

What you must do to prevent air pollution

Prevent dark smoke

Boilers and furnaces: environmental authorisations

Boilers and furnaces - chimney height requirements

Burning waste controls

Smoke control areas

Protecting neighbours from air pollution

Measuring and monitoring to reduce air pollution

Air Pollution environmental legislation

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