Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Do you need a permit or authorisation to produce biofuel?

Permits and authorisations

If you want to produce biofuel for commercial or personal use, you may need a pollution prevention and control (PPC) permit, waste management licence or, in Scotland, to register an exemption. This will depend on how much biofuel you want to make and the method you use.

Check if you need a permit or licence

In Northern Ireland

If you produce biodiesel or bioethanol by chemical means from waste or virgin vegetable oils you will require:

  • a PPC permit if you make more than 5,000 litres per year
  • a waste management licence if you make less than 5,000 litres per year.

If you produce small amounts of biodiesel by physical means you may also require a waste management licence. You will need a waste management licence if you make more than 100 litres per batch for business or personal use.

In Scotland

If you produce biodiesel or bioethanol by chemical means from waste or virgin vegetable oils you will normally require a PPC permit.

If you produce biodiesel by physical means from waste cooking oil you may need a waste management licence or to register an exemption.

You will need a permit or licence if you produce:

  • more than 200 tonnes of biodiesel per year
  • biodiesel for commercial use.

Animal By-products

If you produce biodiesel from waste edible fats and oils of animal origin that are not catering waste, you will also be subject to any relevant controls under animal by-product legislation.

For example, if you produce biodiesel using cooking oil from a food manufacturer or fat from animal by-products, your treatment operations will need approval from:

  • In Northern Ireland, the Divisional Veterinary Office.
  • In Scotland, Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency

DAERA: Animal By-products information

Defra: Approval of premises

If you produce biogas from the anaerobic digestion of waste you must also have a PPC permit or waste management licence.

PPC Permits

Waste management licences

Check if your activities are low impact

If you produce biodiesel by chemical means and need a PPC permit, your activity may be considered to be low impact. If you meet the criteria set out in the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) or the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) guidance you may be eligible for a low impact installation (LII) permit. The fees and charges you pay will be less to reflect the lower environmental impact.

For guidance on whether an installation can be classified as low impact:

  • In Northern Ireland contact the NIEA Industrial Pollution and Radiochemical Inspectorate Helpline on Tel 028 9056 9296 or email them at ipri@daera-ni.gov.uk   
  • In Scotland contact SEPA

Follow rules to store waste cooking oil

You may need a waste management licence to store waste cooking oil.

If you store more than 1,000 litres of waste cooking oil at any one time you will need a licence.

You must always store your used cooking oil within a suitable secondary containment system, for example a bund.

In Scotland, register an exemption to make biodiesel

You must register an exemption from waste management licensing for certain activities. If you have an exemption you must comply with its conditions.

If you treat waste vegetable oil from catering and cooking by physical means to make biodiesel you will need to register for a paragraph 5 exemption.

If you would like to make more biodiesel than this exemption will allow, you may need a waste management licence.

SEPA: Guidance for Small Scale Biodiesel Manufacture

Follow rules for collecting waste vegetable oil

If you collect and transport waste vegetable oil, for example used cooking oil, for the production of biodiesel then you will need to be a registered waste carrier and follow your duty of care for waste.

Duty of care – your waste responsibilities

Waste carriers brokers and dealers

Further information

SEPA: Guidance for small scale biodiesel manufacture

In this Guideline

What are biofuels?

Where you can buy biofuels

Producing your own biodiesel

Producing your own bioethanol or biogas

Do you need a permit or authorisation to produce biofuel?

Storing and transporting biofuel

Biofuels for transport further information

Biofuels environmental legislation

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NIEA - Apply online

SEPA - Application forms