Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Solvent emissions

Solvents are a type of organic chemical that evaporate readily at room temperature, releasing harmful emissions into the atmosphere.

Many businesses use solvents in their day-to-day operations. For example, you may use solvents for cleaning and degreasing products and machinery, or dissolving, thinning and dispersing coatings, paints and inks.

Reducing and managing your use of solvents will help you comply with legislation, cut the cost of buying solvents and reduce your environmental impact. You may also be able to open up new business opportunities by creating products that have less impact on the environment.

This guide describes what organic solvents are and whether you need a pollution prevention and control permit. It also focuses on how and why you should monitor and manage solvent use, how to use your solvent emissions data and how to store solvents safely.

Additional resources


Useful Contacts

Wrap/Zero Waste Scotland Helpline: 0808 100 2040

Video Case Study: How to Reduce Carbon Emissions From Your Business

What is an organic solvent

An organic solvent is a type of volatile organic compound (VOC). VOCs are organic chemicals which vaporise at room temperature.

Organic compounds used as solvents include:

  • aromatic compounds, eg benzene and toluene
  • alcohols, eg methanol
  • esters and ethers
  • ketones, eg acetone
  • amines
  • nitrated and halogenated hydrocarbons.

Organic solvents are often used:

  • to dissolve substances
  • to disperse coatings
  • as media for chemical reactions
  • as cleaning agents.

They are also often used in the manufacture of pharmaceutical products, footwear, paints, varnishes and adhesives.

Organic solvents react in the atmosphere in sunlight, producing an air pollutant known as 'ground-level ozone'. High concentrations of ground-level ozone seriously affect human, animal and plant health. They also harm building materials, forests and crops.

Many organic solvents are classified as toxic or carcinogenic. They can cause significant air and water pollution, and land contamination.

Authorisations for solvent emissions

If you use solvents in your business, you may need a pollution prevention and control (PPC) permit from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) or your district council in Northern Ireland, or SEPA in Scotland, before you can operate. For example, you may need a permit if you use solvents in:

  • printing
  • surface cleaning metals and other materials
  • coating or laminating materials such as metal, plastic, textiles, paper and wood
  • manufacturing paints, varnishes, inks and adhesives
  • manufacturing pharmaceutical products
  • manufacturing footwear
  • dry cleaning*
  • rubber conversion
  • refining or extracting vegetable oil
  • impregnating wood.

* In Scotland dry cleaners should read the Standard Rules guidance on the SEPA website

SEPA: Standard rules for dry cleaners

What you must do

Comply with your permit

If you have a PPC permit you must comply with the conditions it contains. These will reduce or control your emissions of organic solvents (volatile organic compounds (VOCs)).

Your permit will contain details of limits on your solvent emissions and how and when these must be met. For example, you may choose to follow a solvent reduction scheme and you may have limits imposed on specific substances, or you may have limits associated with your production units, such as 25 grams of organic solvent per pair of shoes manufactured.

Your permit will also specify:

  • any abatement equipment required
  • any monitoring and reporting requirements that you must comply with
  • other measures to control solvent emissions, such as handling and storing materials correctly
  • any controls or limits on releasing solvents to land or to groundwater.

If you have a permit, you must produce a solvent management plan and submit it to the NIEA or your district council in Northern Ireland, or to SEPA in Scotland. The solvent management plan must show your annual solvent consumption and that you comply with the emission limits in your permit. It must include any calculations you make.

If you already have a permit and it doesn't contain conditions controlling your solvent emissions, you must contact SEPA in Scotland or the NIEA or your district council in Northern Ireland.

Contact your environmental regulator

If you don't comply with the conditions in your permit, you could be prosecuted.

Even if you don't need a permit, you should manage your solvent emissions and reduce your solvent use - see the pages in this guideline on: Managing your solvents efficiently and Reducing solvent use in production and cleaning processes.

Your business needs to be aware if you are close to the thresholds for requiring a permit.

PPC Permits

Using harmful substances

There are additional requirements if you use:

  • halogenated VOCs which have been assigned the risk phrase R40 or R68, or the hazard statements H341 or H351
  • VOCs which carry the risk phrases R45, R46, R49, R60 or R61, or the hazard statements H340, H350, H350i, H360D or H360F - all of these have been classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction.

Risk phrases are used to classify dangerous substances. A system of numbers relates to short descriptions that tell you about the substance's dangerous properties. From 2010 to 2015, risk phrases will be replaced by hazard statements. During this period both risk phrases and hazard statements will apply.

You can find out if a solvent has any risk phrases or hazard statements by checking the safety data sheet (SDS) that comes with it. Your supplier must provide you with the SDS under the requirements of the REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) Regulation. If you receive any solvents without an SDS, contact your supplier and ask for it.

HSE: Risk and safety phrases information

If you use VOCs which carry the risk phrases R45, R46, R49, R60 or R61, or the hazard statements H340, H350, H350i, H360D or H360F, you must replace them as soon as possible with less harmful alternatives.

If it is not possible to replace them you must:

  • contain and control emissions
  • meet very strict emission limits
  • regularly reassess the possibility of replacement.

For further details, read the process guidance note relevant to your business' activities.

Defra: Process guidance notes

Further information

Northern Ireland

NIBusinessInfo: Solvent use responsibilities

HSE: Risk and safety phrases information


SEPA: Process guidance notes

SEPA: Groundwater protection policy

SEPA: Operator guidance

Monitor your solvent emissions

You may need to monitor your solvent use and emissions to comply with regulations, but it can also help you to reduce costs.

Benefits of monitoring your solvent use

Monitoring your solvent use can have significant benefits for your business. You can reduce solvent use and waste throughout your business, from delivery, storage, on-site distribution and handling to production, cleaning, waste recovery and disposal. Some solvent reduction measures can be implemented quickly with no extra cost, while others may require more initial investment but provide significant long-term savings.

Reducing your solvent use can help you to:

  • reduce the cost of buying materials and disposing of waste
  • improve productivity and product quality
  • enhance the environmental performance of your business
  • comply with environmental, and health and safety legislation
  • improve working conditions and employee morale
  • reduce the risk of pollution incidents
  • improve public image and relationships with stakeholders such as the local community, regulators and investors
  • improve your customer base, as environmental impact is an important factor when customers are buying your products or services.

Set clear objectives

The type of monitoring you carry out will depend on the results you need to get. For example, if you need to monitor your solvent emissions to comply with regulations, the legislation will indicate the type of information you need. You may have to:

  • carry out stock monitoring and control - eg quantities of organic solvent in materials, amounts purchased and used
  • monitor emissions periodically or continuously
  • provide total emissions data or detailed information about specific compounds
  • record the conditions under which measurements are taken - eg pressure, temperature, oxygen content and operational conditions
  • carry out calculations of mass emissions, requiring flow-rate measurements
  • comply with specific regulatory requirements.

If you are monitoring solvent use as part of a solvent management programme to help you reduce costs, you may need more regular and detailed sampling techniques.

How to monitor solvent use and emissions

You may need to use a variety of techniques and equipment for monitoring solvent emissions. When choosing these, you need to consider:

  • the type of data you require
  • the frequency of monitoring
  • safety issues
  • operating restrictions of equipment such as temperature and humidity
  • the accuracy you require
  • how easy it is to repeat measurements.

You should also consider the reliability and robustness of equipment, as well as its accreditation or certification - eg to British Standards. If you are subcontracting all or part of the process, you should check the capabilities of the sampling personnel and laboratory facilities.

You need to decide whether to monitor your solvent emissions using in-house resources or to contract the work out to a specialist organisation. If you do it in-house, you'll also need to decide whether to hire or buy the necessary equipment.

Using a specialist organisation

Advantages include:

  • you do not need to buy and maintain equipment
  • you have access to experts who know the appropriate monitoring techniques
  • no specialist internal training is required
  • you can use independently accredited or certified equipment, personnel and sampling laboratories
  • possible reduced costs by having a competitive tender process
  • they are covered by insurance.

Disadvantages include:

  • you need to specify the right services - re-tests and re-analysis will increase costs
  • you may need to spend time working closely with the sampling team to ensure that the correct monitoring is carried out at the right time
  • you don't have direct control over proceedings
  • you will need to pay contractor and laboratory fees
  • you may also have to hire specialist access equipment.

Using internal resources with hired equipment

Advantages include:

  • no equipment maintenance except some attention during monitoring
  • no capital expenditure
  • having the right equipment and being able to change it if necessary
  • ensuring accuracy with the right staff training.

Disadvantages include:

  • you may need to supply scaffolding or other means of access, and power supplies
  • you must ensure equipment is calibrated correctly
  • equipment is on site for a short time only to complete monitoring
  • you need to train staff to operate the equipment
  • you need to devote internal resources to monitoring
  • you are responsible for deciding which monitoring techniques to use
  • you will need to pay for hire charges, training, staff and other internal resources, laboratory analysis and insurance.

Using internal resources with bought equipment

Advantages include:

  • flexibility - you can monitor emissions when it suits your business and as often as you like
  • you can ensure accuracy with the right staff training.

Disadvantages include:

  • you need to maintain, calibrate and test equipment
  • equipment may be a very expensive capital investment
  • you need to train staff to operate the equipment
  • you need to devote internal resources to monitoring
  • you are responsible for deciding which monitoring techniques to use
  • you will need to pay for the initial investment in equipment, staff training, maintenance, staff and other internal resources, laboratory analysis and insurance.

Using recognised equipment and services

Outside laboratories should have the appropriate UK Accreditation Service (UKAS) accreditation.

UKAS: Accredited testing laboratory search

Make use of your solvent emissions data

It is important to manage your solvent monitoring plan carefully so that you get reliable and useful results. Use your data as soon as possible after monitoring, so that you can submit accurate and up-to-date information, and improve your processes to save your business money.

Implementing your solvent monitoring plan

To ensure accurate and reliable results you should:

  • give one staff member overall responsibility for the project, and nominate a deputy
  • define in detail what you're monitoring, including timings and methods, with named individuals to look after different aspects
  • train staff as appropriate - this is particularly important if you're using in-house resources to do the monitoring
  • set up a method of recording the results
  • agree the process with the contractor's team, if you're using a subcontractor
  • decide where the samples are to be taken - equipment manufacturers or your contractor should be able to advise on this
  • conduct trial monitoring over a period of several days to make sure the procedures work and the sampling process is accurate and relevant
  • take enough samples when you start monitoring to get meaningful results
  • follow the monitoring requirements stated in your permit.

Submitting solvent emissions data

Use your data from monitoring promptly, as it will become outdated quite quickly.

If you monitor solvent emissions to comply with a pollution prevention and control permit, ensure you send it to the regulators on time and in the required format. You may also benefit from using the data for internal review, process control assessment and cost analysis.

Evaluating solvent emissions data

Look at your data with relevant staff and consider whether:

  • emissions are lower or higher than expected and, if so, find out the reasons
  • there are unexpected emissions, suggesting in-house problems such as waste, leaks or process control issues
  • you could save money by cutting solvent use, considering alternatives to solvents or changing processes
  • you are using the right monitoring techniques and equipment, and if they give you the information you need.

Using solvent emissions data

You can use the data:

  • to optimise the size and cost of pollution abatement equipment
  • as part of a solvent management plan to reduce solvent use and emissions
  • within an environmental management system
  • as part of a Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations assessment.

In Northern Ireland you can find information on the COSHH Regulations on the Health & Safety Executive Northern Ireland (HSENI) website. In Scotland you can find information on the COSHH Regulations on the Healthy Working Lives website.

HSENI: COSHH Regulations information

Healthy Working Lives: COSHH Regulations information  

When you review your solvent emissions data and the management programme, you should also consider whether you can improve your processes to include solvent capture, recovery and reuse. This could help you reduce your solvent use and save money.

Reviewing solvent monitoring processes

Solvent monitoring is not a one-off process. The programme you put in place will probably need updating. You should review your results regularly to ensure you are getting the data you need and monitoring continues to do the job intended.

Manage solvent use

Managing your solvents efficiently can help you reduce the amount of solvents you use, and help you to consider cheaper alternatives.

To help you manage your solvents, you should:

  • appoint someone to be responsible for how your business reduces and manages solvent use
  • review your business' solvent consumption and emissions - look at where most solvents are used and why, and where the highest emissions are
  • make an inventory of solvent stocks and review your purchasing processes
  • consider ways of reducing solvent use and waste
  • consider using alternatives to solvents
  • prepare and implement an action plan to reduce solvent use, with objectives and measurable targets
  • review your solvent management plan regularly to ensure that it works effectively
  • report on your solvent savings regularly.

Train staff for solvent management

You need support from everyone in your business to ensure your solvent management plan is successful. Any staff responsible for solvent management should be trained in:

  • how to handle, store, use and clean up solvents and solvent-based materials and wastes
  • how to use solvent-related equipment
  • solvent waste management.

Training should include potential cost savings, health and safety implications, the environmental impact of solvents and other benefits such as improved profitability.

Save money by using solvents efficiently

Only buy the quantity of solvents that you need.

Talk to your suppliers about introducing a just-in-time process, where materials are delivered as and when you need them. If you need to hold stock, carry only the minimum necessary and make sure that older materials are used first.

Don't over-order to allow for waste. Reducing the amount of solvent you waste will help you to order more efficiently and save money.

If you use a lot of solvents, buying in bulk can save you money, reduce packaging and waste. Keep records of all solvent purchases, including:

  • how much you bought
  • where you bought it
  • where you store it
  • how much you use for particular jobs
  • how much you return as waste
  • how much you recycle or recover.

Check whether your supplier offers a solvent reclamation service. This can help you to reduce costs when buying solvents. It will also help reduce the volume of solvent you use, if you need to declare your annual use to comply with your pollution prevention and control permit.

Consider using less harmful low-solvent or no-solvent alternatives. Water-based and low-emission materials are now available and can save you money. You should discuss these options with your suppliers and relevant staff.

Check all material deliveries to your site by:

  • reviewing ordering processes to ensure that deliveries match your orders
  • installing a vehicle weighbridge to check bulk deliveries against invoiced quantities
  • checking how much residue is left in solvent delivery containers immediately by comparing the empty container weight with a clean container.

Use an environmental management system

If you have an environmental management system, or plan to implement one, you should use this to manage your solvent use.

Environmental management systems and environmental reports

Further information

WRAP Northern Ireland/Zero Waste Scotland Helpline: 0808 100 2040

Reduce your solvent use

Reducing your solvent use can lead to a number of benefits. See the page in this guideline: Why you should monitor your solvent use and emissions.

Production processes

You can reduce solvent use during production processes by:

  • talking to suppliers, trade associations and similar businesses about new products and processes
  • pre-cleaning with non-solvent cleaners, eg line pigs, detergents, high-pressure sprays
  • using sprays or other delivery systems rather than open containers when applying solvents
  • sealing solvent containers with well-fitted lids, and using adhesive tape to make them airtight to minimise evaporation and contamination
  • sealing containers without lids with anti-static plastic covers or stretch-wrap
  • keeping solvent containers away from heat and draughts
  • fitting mixing vessels and reservoirs with automatic shut-off devices or overfill alarms to avoid spills
  • making sure that you contain solvent emissions wherever possible - fit a lid (even if it is partial) to degreasing or mixing vessels, and minimise emissions by using extraction systems
  • using an extraction system to remove solvent emissions from closed vessels to prevent internal pressure building up
  • ensuring any extraction system operates at an optimum when releases of solvent emissions are most likely, eg when vessels are open, during mixing or during production processes
  • fitting alarm systems to pollution abatement equipment to alert you if there are uncontrolled emissions.

You can also avoid wasting solvents by:

  • pouring materials during mixing in order of volatility from lowest to highest
  • using precise measuring techniques
  • preparing the correct amount of materials required
  • marking measurements on the container side when decanting from large containers
  • avoiding splashing when filling mixing vessels and machine reservoirs
  • using a funnel to reduce the risk of spills when pouring
  • leaving containers open for the minimum time possible while preparing for use.

Cleaning operations

Cleaning often uses more solvent than is necessary. Review your cleaning processes and consider alternative solutions, such as low-emission cleaning agents - eg citrus or water-based and vegetable-based degreasing agents.

Use the minimum amount of solvent necessary. For example, you could use a triggered spray to use less solvent and reduce operator exposure.

Introduce a 'clean as you go' policy to prevent deposits building up. If build-ups do occur, you should try to use non-solvent cleaners and a suitable scraper first to pre-clean. For difficult deposits, use a detergent with mechanical scrapers, floor scrubbers and high-pressure water jets. Fit sumps or drains with solvent interceptors and tanks which you can pump solvent out of for recovery or disposal.

If you can, use dedicated equipment so that you can avoid having to clean equipment between batches. Producing batches using similar materials or colours may help reduce cleaning.

Fully enclosed degreasing and cleaning equipment cuts evaporation and can enable you to reuse solvents. If you have to clean large vessels or tanks regularly, consider fitting automated cleaning-in-place (CIP) systems. These generally use high-pressure cleaning and can significantly reduce solvent use.

Consider pigging to clean pipelines. This involves forcing a plug or 'pig' that is normally made of rubber or steel along the pipeline. Advantages of pigging include:

  • recovering expensive materials for reuse
  • reducing the amount of cleaning solvent required
  • potentially rapid return on investment.


If you use adhesives, try to find non-solvent based products. If there is no alternative to using solvent-based adhesives, you can cut solvent emissions by:

  • monitoring and recording how much adhesive you are using to check you aren't using too much
  • reducing evaporation by using pots with vapour traps and appropriate lids, or pots that minimise the surface area of adhesive
  • storing brushes in sealed containers with cleaning solvent in the bottom
  • using dosing devices to apply a controlled amount of adhesive, eg glue guns
  • making sure reservoirs are properly sealed if machines are used to apply adhesive
  • enclosing adhesive-application machines fully and fitting an inspection window if necessary
  • pumping low-viscosity adhesives directly to the application point, glue gun or coating head.

Further information

WRAP Northern Ireland/Zero Waste Scotland Helpline: 0808 100 2040

Recover and re-use your solvents

It can often be cost-effective to reuse solvents instead of disposing of them. If you can't do this with the solvents you use, talk to your suppliers, your trade association or similar businesses to yours to discuss alternative products. See the page in this guideline: Managing your solvents efficiently.

You can improve your solvent recovery rate by:

  • keeping solvent residues separate to avoid cross-contamination
  • pre-cleaning products to be treated with solvent, so they are free from contaminants which can cause sludge
  • matching cleaning solvents to those used in product formulations to prevent contamination.

Depending on the products you use, you may be able to use distillation equipment to recover solvents, or use solvent capture and recovery. This can cut the costs of your materials, waste storage and disposal. If this isn't possible, you may be able to find an organisation that recovers used solvents and solvent-based wastes.

Procedures that will help you recover solvents include:

  • separating solvents from other wastes
  • designing solvent mixes to be attractive to recovery specialists
  • storing waste solvents in a secure location - see the page in this guideline: Storing and using solvents
  • making sure waste containers are sealed and in good condition
  • keeping spare clean containers so that you can transfer waste solvent from damaged containers
  • considering using bulk tanks rather than drums
  • labelling waste properly using waterproof labels
  • ensuring waste solvents are removed from site regularly
  • keeping records and consignment notes for all waste solvents or solvent-contaminated materials that you keep on site and transfer off site.

Further information

WRAP Northern Ireland/Zero Waste Scotland Helpline: 0808 100 2040

Hazardous/special waste

Solvents: storing and using

You should store and use solvents carefully to avoid pollution from leaks and spills. If you cause pollution, you could be prosecuted or fined.

Check safety data sheets

Ensure that your solvent supplier gives you an up-to-date safety data sheet (SDS) with every order. An SDS provides information on safe solvent use, and what to do in the case of an accident.

Make sure that your employees:

  • are aware of and understand the information in the SDS
  • know where the SDS is kept
  • have ready access to the SDS, in case it is needed in an emergency.

Store solvents safely

Keep solvent containers closed when you're not using them. This will minimise emissions to the atmosphere by evaporation.

Avoid using underground storage tanks (USTs) for solvents. If you already store solvents in USTs, contact the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) or Scottish Environment protection Agency (SEPA) for advice.

If you need to store waste solvents, or wastes contaminated with solvents (eg cleaning cloths), keep them in sealed containers.

You should locate, use and maintain solvent storage facilities as you would other chemical storage facilities.

Chemical storage.

Use solvents safely

Ensure staff who use solvents are appropriately trained.

You should place all cloths contaminated with solvents in a closed metal container after use and consider reusing them.

Only use, pour and mix solvents in designated areas. These areas should be well labelled, well ventilated and have appropriate secondary containment systems. If you use solvents for cleaning purposes, consider using equipment that will minimise emissions, eg a sealed system.

Carry out regular risk assessments and make improvements to your processes from the results.

Transport solvents safely

Make sure you allow enough space for solvents to be safely delivered, removed and transported around your site. You should also:

  • mark transport routes clearly through your site
  • check regularly that there are no obstacles or sources of ignition
  • ensure that all deliveries are made and accepted by properly trained staff
  • ensure that delivery areas are clearly marked out, secure and free of obstacles.

Deal with spills correctly

It is important that you and your employees know how to manage spills and leaks if they occur.

Have a pollution incident response procedure for dealing with spills. Make sure that all staff are fully trained in the procedure and how to implement it.

GPP 21: Pollution incident response planning

Your business may face prosecution if you allow solvents to cause pollution in the air (eg odour), watercourses, groundwater or land. You can reduce the impacts of a spill if you have proper procedures in place.

You should:

  • keep equipment to deal with spills, eg absorbent granules and containment equipment, close to solvent storage areas
  • have drain covers or drain valves to stop spills or leaks entering water drains or the public sewerage system
  • have a reporting system for spills over a certain volume
  • have a spill procedure for dealing with large spills and put procedures in place to prevent any recurrence
  • seal solvent-soaked materials into a drum for recovery, reuse or disposal
  • train all employees in your spill procedure.

Report pollution incidents as soon as they happen to the UK wide Pollution Hotline on Tel 0800 80 70 60.

Further information

Scotland: SEPA: Operator guidance

Solvents: limits in paints and varnishes

If you place paints and varnishes on the market that contain organic solvents (volatile organic compounds (VOCs)) you must ensure that they comply with the relevant limit value. These restrict the amount of solvent that the ready-to-use product can contain.

Manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers, including businesses that only mix paint, must check the VOC content of their products.

The table below shows the maximum VOC content limit values for paints and varnishes. The limit values are stated in grams per litre (g/l) when the product is ready to use.

Maximum VOC content limit values for paints and varnishes

Product* Coating type VOC limit (g/l))
Interior matt walls and ceilings (degree of gloss ≤25 at 60°) Water borne 30
Solventborne 30
Interior glossy walls and ceilings (degree of gloss >25 at 60°) Waterborne 100
Solvent borne 100
Exterior walls of mineral substrate Water borne 40
Solvent borne 430
Interior/exterior trim and cladding paints for wood and metal Water borne 130
Solvent borne 300
Interior/exterior trim varnishes and woodstains, including opaque woodstains Water borne 130
Solvent borne 400
Interior and exterior minimal build woodstains Water borne 130
Solvent borne 700
Primers Water borne 30
Solvent borne 350
Binding primers Water borne 30
Solvent borne 750
One-pack performance coatings Water borne 140
Solvent borne 500
Two-pack reactive performance coatings for specific end use, eg floors Water borne 140
Solvent borne 500
Multi-coloured coatings Water borne 100
Solvent borne 100
Decorative effect coatings Water borne 200
Solvent borne 200


*For a more detailed definition of the products covered, read schedule 2 of:

The Volatile Organic Compounds in Paints, Varnishes and Vehicle Refinishing Products Regulations 2012

Solvent limits in vehicle refinishing products

If you place vehicle refinishing products on the market that contain organic solvents (volatile organic compounds (VOCs)) you must ensure that they comply with the relevant limit value. These restrict the amount of solvent that the ready-to-use product can contain.

Manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers, including businesses that only mix paint, must check the VOC content of their products.

The table below shows the maximum VOC content limit values for vehicle refinishing products. These limit values do not apply to the:

  • original coating of vehicles using refinishing materials
  • coating of trailers or semi-trailers
  • coating of vintage or historic vehicles
  • use of vehicle refinishing products in an installation with a pollution prevention and control permit.

The limit values are stated in grams per litre (g/l) when the product is ready to use. Except for preparatory and cleaning products, do not include any water content of the ready-to-use product in your calculations.

Maximum VOC content limit values for paints and varnishes

Product* Coating type Limit value (g/l)
Preparatory and cleaning Preparatory 850
Pre-cleaner 200
Bodyfiller/stopper All types 250
Primer Surfacer/filler and general (metal) primer 540
Wash primer 780
Topcoat All types 420
Special finishes All types 840


*For a more detailed definition of the products covered, read schedule 2 of:

The Volatile Organic Compounds in Paints, Varnishes and Vehicle Refinishing Products Regulations 2012

Solvent emissions environmental legislation

This page provides links to the full text of key pieces of environmental legislation relating to solvent emissions. 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.

Environmental management systems and environmental reports

Northern Ireland

The Volatile Organic Compounds in Paints, Varnishes and Vehicle Refinishing Products Regulations 2012 Sets permitted maximum levels of organic solvents contained in paints, varnishes and vehicle refinishing products (such as cleaners, primers and fillers).

Pollution Prevention Control (Industrial Emissions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013 SR 160 The Regulations revoke 18 sets of existing regulations relating to industrial emissions and consolidate all the provisions of the Industrial Emissions Directive in to a single set of regulations. They control the operation of any installation or mobile plant carry out any of the activities listed in Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the Regulations.


The Volatile Organic Compounds in Paints, Varnishes and Vehicle Refinishing Products Regulations 2012 Sets permitted maximum levels of organic solvents contained in paints, varnishes and vehicle refinishing products (such as cleaners, primers and fillers).

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 legislation.

Further information

Environmental legislation on NetRegs

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