Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland
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:
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:
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. See the NetRegs Environmental Topic PPC Permits
There are additional requirements if you use:
You can find out if a solvent has an hazard statement 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.
Health and Safety Executive: Chemical safety data sheets
If you use VOCs with 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:
For further details, read the process guidance note relevant to your business' activities. See:
GOV.UK Statutory Guidance: Process guidance notes for the solvents sector
Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC) Permits for solvent emissions
View our latest videos & subscribe to our channel.