Tough new guidelines for Scottish pollution come into force
The Scottish Executive has implemented new regulations which reach further than the Integrated Pollution Control regime (IPC), currently in place.
Sarah Boyack, Minister for Transport and the Environment, announced the Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations 2000 on 28 September, which build on and will eventually replace the IPC which has been in place in Britain since 1992.
Under the IPC, routine discharges to air, land and water are already controlled, but the new regulations go further by covering waste minimisation, energy efficiency, accident prevention, site restoration, and heat, noise and vibration emissions.
The regulations implement a European Community directive requiring operators to use the Best Available Techniques, subject to an assessment of their costs and benefits, to prevent or reduce pollution from installations to the air, land and water. The directive retains the long established “polluter pays” principle and will apply to a wider range of installations than the present arrangements, the Executive said.
Around 750 installations in Scotland will be covered by the new regulations. New or substantially changed installations will be brought into the regime with immediate effect and operators will need to submit an application to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), who will regulate the new regime, before April 2001. Existing installations will be brought under the regulations on an industry sector-by-sector basis. To ensure an easier transition from the existing regime to the new one, a timetable of phased introduction will take place between 2001 and 2007.
SEPA has drafted a Practical Guide, currently available for consultation, to support operators in their understanding of the new requirements and is preparing new application forms which is says are simpler and clearer than present ones.
“These new regulations strengthen our existing regime by requiring operators to consider all the environmental impacts of their installations,” Boyack said. “In particular, the regulations include energy efficiency, waste minimisation and the use of raw materials as aspects of an installation’s operation. Not only will these measures bring significant environmental benefits, but through the more efficient use of energy and raw materials, could also result in financial gains for the industries concerned.”