Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland
You must ensure that any vehicle used by your business is roadworthy and complies with exhaust emission standards and weight regulations. The minimum exhaust emission standards are specified in the:
The Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) in Northern Ireland and the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) in Scotland enforce these standards by carrying out roadside checks to vehicles, to improve the roadworthiness of vehicles and ensuring operators and drivers comply.
Your local authority monitors air quality in your area. If this falls below a certain legal level they must declare an AQMA and introduce their own schemes to help improve the poor air quality, for example low emission zones (LEZs). The local authority may decide to penalise drivers who enter an LEZ if a vehicle doesn't meet certain emissions standards or qualify for an exemption.
Check with your local council to find out if there are any restrictions on vehicle access in your area.
In Scotland, the Scottish Government has plans to introduce LEZs into Scotland's four biggest cities first, and followed by LEZs in other Air Quality Management Areas.
Dust, fumes or noise emissions from your vehicles can cause a nuisance to your neighbours. If your local council receives a complaint, they may request that you reduce or stop the nuisance, or ask you to carry out work to reduce or stop it.
See our guideline on noise, odour and other nuisances.
You must turn off your engine when your vehicle is stationary to reduce exhaust emissions and noise. You can be prosecuted or fined by some local councils if you leave your engine running unnecessarily while stationary for more than 30 seconds. If the vehicle has refrigeration units, you should switch the engine off as long as there is an electrical supply to run them.
Guidance - Noise and vibration management: environmental permits, Guidance - Noise and vibration management: environmental permits
Environmental Plans, Principles and Governance for Northern Ireland – Synopsis of Responses, Public responses to the Discussion Document: Environmental Plans, Principles and Governance
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