Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Vehicle refinishing products

Car refinishing and detailing

What you must do

If your business repaints or resprays road vehicles, or vehicle parts, and uses one tonne or more of organic solvent in Northern Ireland or two tonnes or more in Scotland, in any 12-month period you must have a Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC) permit from your enviornmental regulator.

If you have a permit you must comply with its conditions, which may require you to reduce or control your solvent emissions.

Contact your environmental regulator

You can find technical guidance, a model permit application and model permit in Process Guidance Note 6/34b: 'Respraying of Road Vehicles'. Even if you don't require aPPC permit, this guidance note can help prevent you from being prosecuted for causing pollution.

Defra: Process Guidance Note 6/34b (06) - Respraying of road vehicles (Adobe PDF - 519KB)

If you manufacture, import, distribute or sell vehicle refinishing products you must comply with controls on the amount of solvents (VOCs) that these products contain.

Solvent limits in vehicle refinishing products

If your refinishing products contain substances such as organic solvents and isocyanates, you must dispose of the products and their containers as hazardous/special waste.

Hazardous / special waste

Good practice

  • Regularly review your refinishing activities, including your choice of refinishing products and equipment, to see whether you can reduce costs and environmental impacts.
  • Use high volume low pressure (HVLP) paint guns to increase coating efficiency.
  • Carry out all spraying in a booth which is kept under negative pressure during spraying.
  • Ensure that you do not allow odour or droplets from vehicle refinishing products to escape and cause a nuisance to your neighbours.

Noise, odour and other nuisances

  • Change filters regularly.
  • Regularly clean and maintain your equipment. This will reduce the risk of causing a nuisance through odours and hygiene problems, and minimise the environmental impact of your equipment.
  • Use enclosed gunwash cabinets to clean your sprayguns. This can cut your use of cleaning solvents and reduce emissions into the atmosphere.
  • You should put lids back on waste solvent containers and keep waste rags in containers. This will keep solvent releases to a minimum.
  • Make sure that you store vehicle refinishing products and equipment so that they do not cause pollution.

Oil storage

Chemical storage

Further information

Surface treatment of metals

Additional resources

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