Environmental Authorisations (Scotland) Regulations 2018 draft - proposed amendments: consultation

This consultation sets out proposals for incorporating SEPA’s four main regulatory regimes into an integrated environmental authorisation framework as part of Scottish Government and SEPA’s joint Better Environmental Regulation Programme.

6. Industrial Activities Technical Provisions

6.1 Introduction

6.1.1 The Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC) regime is procedurally and technically complex and provides limited flexibility to allow regulation to reflect the risk of a specific activity. The draft Regulations and the associated SEPA guidance on the type of authorisation needed aim to create a framework which will:

  • maintain a high level of environmental protection and alignment with the technical standards at EU level
  • provide simplified and responsive regulation that is proportionate to risk
  • reduce administrative burdens and increase regulatory clarity.

6.1.2 Transitioning PPC permitting into the 2018 Regulations will have benefits for the industry. These include:

  • authorising radioactive substances, waste, water, and industrial activities under a single framework
  • more flexible permitting approaches, such as entire site permits and corporate permits to suit the needs of operators
  • a broader ‘Fit and Proper Person’ test, better able to uphold high standards in the industry
  • more effective enforcement tools to better deal with non-compliance, failing sites and illegal deposits of waste
  • a more flexible approach to suspension and revocation of authorisations giving SEPA more effective powers to intervene where necessary.

6.2 Major Changes

6.2.1 The major changes for industrial activities are the new activities of carbon capture, non-waste anaerobic digestion and generators aggregating to 1 MWth or more. Any comments regarding the technical requirements for these new activities in Schedule 26 in the draft Regulations should refer to section 2 where there are questions relating to each proposed new activity.

6.3 Minor Changes

6.3.1 Proposed industrial activities. All existing PPC activities will require an authorisation under the 2018 Regulations. The description of some activities has changed but the activities themselves are the same. Where these activities already need a permit under PPC, the existing permits will automatically become authorisations under the draft Regulations without the need for permit holders to reapply, apart from potentially a small number of existing part B activities that SEPA are proposing to move to the registration tier, which may not be able to comply with the relevant standard conditions.

6.3.2 The draft Regulations include the following regulated activities:

6.3.3 Industrial emissions activities, including:

  • activities listed in Annex I of the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED). This includes the majority of existing PPC Part A activities. These activities (including any directly associated activities, whether they fall under another regulated activity description or not) will continue to be subject to the full technical and procedural requirements of the IED. The technical requirements in Schedules 19 and 20 apply to these activities
  • Operation of a Large Combustion Plant described in Chapter III of the IED The technical requirements in Schedule 21 apply to this activity
  • waste incineration plant and co-incineration plant described in Chapter IV of the IED The technical requirements in Schedule 22 apply to this activity
  • Solvent emissions activities described in Part 1 of Annex VII to the IED. The technical requirements in Schedule 23 apply to these activities
  • Titanium dioxide activities described in Chapter VI of the IED. The technical requirements in Schedule 24 apply to this activity.

Question 18 Do you have any comments on the activity “industrial emissions activities” or on the technical requirements in Schedules 19 to 24 in the draft Regulations?

6.3.4 “Additional technical requirements for relevant Schedule 20 and 26 activities operating an energy efficiency installation” – This covers installations and relevant district heating and cooling networks described in articles 14(5) to (8) of the Energy Efficiency Directive and imposes various energy efficiency requirements upon these installations. This activity will include combustion and incineration installations with an aggregate thermal input capacity of greater than 20 MWth as well as relevant district heating and cooling networks.

6.3.5 The technical requirements in Schedule 25 apply to this activity.

Question 19 Do you have any comments on the additional technical requirements in Schedule 25 in the draft Regulations?

6.3.6 “Other emissions activities” – These activities will include the current PPC Part B activities and a few existing non-IED PPC Part A activities such as crude oil handling and storage, making solid fuel from waste (sewage sludge drying), and recovery by distillation of oil (drilling mud treatment). It also includes operating a medium combustion plant, and petrol vapour recovery activities. Waste activities, including incineration and co-incineration plant, with a capacity below the Annex I threshold are not included under this activity description because they are described by and included within waste management activities.

6.3.7 We have taken the opportunity to simplify the description of activities and removed the “Part A” and “Part B” categorisation of activities in PPC. The majority of former Part B activities are now ‘other emissions’ activities and are listed in Part 3 of schedule 26. This gives SEPA greater flexibility in regulation and means that for former Part B activities SEPA may set conditions relating to impacts arising from emissions other than emissions to air. However, as these activities would have been regulated where applicable by the previous water, waste, and radioactive substances regimes in addition to PPC, in practice no additional requirements on an individual activity are anticipated, with the process for operators being a much simpler one. This change reflects the overall policy intent to integrate environmental requirements.

6.3.8 Whilst these activities no longer have “directly associated activities”, and so any activities on the same site that have the potential to cause pollution would need an authorisation in their own right, these may continue to be authorised under a single authorisation. However, the new framework allows them to be authorised under separate authorisations where that is more appropriate.

6.3.9 The technical requirements in Schedule 26 apply to these activities.

Question 20 Do you have any comments on the industrial activity carrying out “other emissions activities” Schedule 26 in the draft Regulations?

6.3.10 “Operating a medium combustion plant” – This activity will cover combustion of fuel in plant with a total thermal input of between 1 and 50 MWth as described in the Medium Combustion Plant Directive (MCPD).

6.3.11 The technical requirements in Schedules 26 and 27 apply to this activity.

6.3.12 The proposed amendments to the 2018 Regulations simplify the regulation of medium combustion plant of 1-50 MWth in keeping with the Medium Combustion Plant Directive. Medium combustion plant with a capacity of 20 MWth and above are regulated under PPC as a Part B activity requiring a permit. This has been the case for many years and prior to regulation of these plant at the European level. The Medium Combustion Plant Directive was brought into PPC in 2017 and extended regulatory control to all medium combustion plants between 1-50 MWth with no distinction between 1-20 MWth and 20-50 MWth. PPC, however, maintained this existing distinction with the consequence that additional requirements, above and beyond those required by the Medium Combustion Plant Directive remained in place for plant of 20 MWth and above. For example, there was a requirement that plant must apply Best Available Techniques and various additional requirements including that an assessment of the impact of the plant on air quality had to be included permit applications.

6.3.13 The 20 MWth threshold has been in place for several decades and over that time technology and our understanding of the impacts of smaller plant has changed considerably while the need to protect air quality has become more prominent, and standards tightened. The proposed amendments mean that SEPA does not need to apply these specific additional requirements to plant of 20 MWth or more, removing blanket application of prescriptive requirements. SEPA instead will have the flexibility to set suitable standards for all medium combustion plant in order to provide appropriate environmental protection based on a plant’s level of risk to the environment. For example, SEPA would be able to apply Best Available Techniques to any combustion plant requiring an authorisation under the draft Regulations and require the inclusion of an air quality impact assessment in an application for any combustion plant where appropriate, not just those meeting the 20 MWth threshold. The proposed amendments also significantly simplify the regulatory arrangements for combustion plant and provide clearer alignment with EU standards.

6.3.14 In practice, operators of the few existing PPC Part B combustion plant will not see any changes in regulatory requirements.

Question 21 Do you have any comments on the activity “operating a medium combustion plant” in Schedule 27 in the draft Regulations?

6.3.15 “Petrol vapour recovery activities” – These activities cover emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOC) from the storage and distribution of petrol and from vehicle refuelling at services stations.

6.3.16 The technical requirements in Schedule 28 apply to this activity.

Question 22 Do you have any comments on the activity “operating a petrol vapour recovery activity” in Schedule 28 in the draft Regulations?

6.3.17 Other emissions activities – General Binding Rules. These are used for low-risk activities, where it is judged that the activity can be carried out without the need for direct authorisation from SEPA, provided that the associated rules are applied.

6.3.18 We are proposing one GBR for using crushing and screening equipment. Activities associated with crushing and screening are considered low risk and the employment of methods to prevent pollution are standard across the industry – for example, the inclusion of spray bars on crushing and screening equipment. The environmental risk these activities pose is generally low.

Question 23 Do you have any comments on this general binding rule 1, from Schedule 9, Chapter 4, Low Emission Activities in the draft Regulations?

6.3.19 Other amendments. We are also taking the opportunity to make minor amendments and corrections to the emissions activities’ arrangements, and these are set out in Annex D. The draft Regulations will enable SEPA to continue to work with operators of controlled activities to protect, and improve, the environment in a similar way to now. The activities and technical requirements are largely unchanged. However, there will be some differences in detail.

Question 24 Do you have any comments on the minor amendments relating to PPC activities as set out in Annex D?

6.4 Legislative Changes

6.4.1 The PPC Regulations will be repealed completely and replaced by Schedules 19 -28 as well as certain parts of the Waste Management schedules of the 2018 Regulations once amended. In doing this the draft Regulations align with all or part of the following European legislation:

  • Directive 2010/75/EU on industrial emissions (IED)
  • Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency (EED) – Articles 14(5) to 14(8)
  • Directive (EU) 2015/2193 on the limitation of emissions of certain pollutants into the air from medium combustion plants
  • Directive 94/63/EC on the control of volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions resulting in the storage of petrol and its distribution from terminals to service stations
  • Directive 2009/126/EC on stage II petrol vapour recovery during the refuelling of motor vehicles at service stations
  • Directive 2006/66/EC the Batteries Directive
  • Regulation EC 1272/2008 on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures

6.4.2 European requirements have been implemented in such a way that prescriptive Directive requirements continue to apply only where necessary, thereby enhancing flexibility within the regime, and enabling effective risk-based regulation.


Email: chemicals@gov.scot

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