Northern Ireland cracks down on small oil burners

Northern Ireland’s Department of the Environment has introduced changes to legislation affecting small waste oil burners (SWOBs) in Northern Ireland.

Prior to May 2012 operators were required to obtain a permit from the relevant district council to run a small burner but following clarification of its legal position, the department has made changes to the Pollution Prevention and Control Regulations (NI) 2003 (PPC Regulations) so that the combustion of waste oils in SWOBs is now subject to the stringent regulations of the Waste Incineration Directive (WID).

A statement from the Northern Ireland Executive said that operators “must now obtain a permit from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) for a SWOB which could only be issued if the SWOB meets all the requirements of WIB.”

And, the Executive warned that operating a SWOB without the necessary permit is an offence under the PPC Regulations and could result in a fine of up to £30,000.

Registered carrier

Waste vehicle oil will now need to be collected by a registered waste carrier and taken to a properly licenced or permitted facility.

Operators of SWOBs will no longer be able to burn waste vehicle oil, but could burn suitable alternative (non waste) fuel oil or (in Northern Ireland only) processed fuel oil which has passed the NIEA’s end of waste test, in line with its quality protocol. The protocol is available on the Department’s website.

Since the change in law, the Departmet for the Environment said that it had contacted all operators of SWOBs who had obtained the necessary permits from district councils to inform them of this change. NIEA is now tasked with ensuring that the PPC Regulations are enforced in relation to SWOBs and understands that there may be substantial numbers of SWOBs operating in Northern Ireland which had never obtained a permit from their district council.

NIEA is now undertaking a campaign to ensure that all operators comply with the legislation, which means either stop using the SWOB or change to a clean (non waste) fuel and send waste oil to a licensed or permitted facility.

This change brings the position in Northern Ireland into line with the Republic, where the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has always taken the view that a waste licence, compliant with the European Waste Incineration Directive, is required for the operation of SWOBs. The EPA has also recently undertaken a compliance campaign advising operators of their legal obligations.

Related links

Department for Environment Northern Ireland

Republic of Ireland Environment Protection Agency


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