Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Energy and steam generation

Power, heat and electricity generation

(CHP power generation, diesel generators, electricity generators, steam generators)

If you produce energy or steam on your site and you have a generator, furnace or boiler with a rated thermal input above certain threshold levels, you will require a permit from your environmental regulator.

What you must do

Northern Ireland - get a pollution prevention and control permit

You will need a Part A pollution prevention and control (PPC) permit for:

  • appliances with a rated thermal input of 50 megawatts or more
  • appliances burning waste oil, recovered oil or fuel manufactured from waste.

You will need a Part C PPC permit for:

  • appliances with a rated thermal input of 20 to 50 megawatts or a combination of appliances which when added together, have a net rated thermal input exceeding 20 megawatts but less than a rated thermal input of 50 megawatts.

Part A is regulated by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) and Part C is regulated by your district council.

Pollution prevention and control permits

Scotland – get a pollution prevention and control permit

You will need a Part A pollution prevention and control (PPC) permit for:

  • appliances with a rated thermal input of 50 megawatts or more
  • appliances burning waste oil, recovered oil or fuel manufactured from waste.

You will need a Part B PPC permit for:

  • new appliances with a rated thermal input of 1 to 20 megawatts (from 20/12/2018)
  • appliances with a rated thermal input of 20 to 50 megawatts
  • appliances burning waste excluded from the Waste Incineration Directive with a rated thermal input of 0.4 to 3 megawatts.

Existing appliances with a rated thermal input of between 1 and 20 megawatts with have to obtain a PPC Part B permit by:

  • 1 Jan 2024 for appliances with a rated thermal input of between 5 and 20 megawatts
  • 1 Jan 2019 for appliances with a rated thermal input of between 1 and 5 megawatts

SEPA: Medium Combustion Plant

Pollution prevention and control permits

Comply with the waste incineration directive

If you burn quantities of waste above certain limits you will need a PPC permit that complies with the Waste Incineration Directive.

Waste incineration

Get a clean air consent

You must have a consent from your local council under the Clean Air Act before you install a furnace or  a fixed boiler on your site. Building regulations consent is not sufficient. You must be able to operate the furnace continually without emitting smoke when using the correct type of fuel.

Meet chimney height requirements

Your chimney must be high enough to prevent smoke, grit, dust, gases and fume emissions damaging health or causing a nuisance. Your local council can refuse approval for a chimney that is not a sufficient height.

You must apply for chimney height approval from your local council if:

  • you do not have a PPC permit
  • your boiler's fuel consumption exceeds 45.4kg (solid fuel) or 366.4kW (liquid or gas fuel) per hour.

If your approval application is refused your local council will tell you the minimum chimney height you need.

Your local council can give conditional approval for your chimney. You may have restrictions on the rate and type of emissions. Emission rates are measured in kilograms per hour (Kg/hr).

If your use of the chimney changes you must re-apply for approval for the new emissions.

It is an offence to use a chimney without approval from your local council.

Contact your local council

Meet boiler emission requirements

If you install a new boiler it must be able to run continuously without emitting smoke.

You must fit all boilers with grit and dust arrestment equipment. You can apply to your local council for an exemption, but this will only be granted if the boiler will not create emissions that could damage health or cause a nuisance.

For further information contact your local council or SEPA in Scotland.

Contact your local council

SEPA: Contacting SEPA

Oil and condensation

You must not use gas oil with a sulphur content over 0.1% by mass.

You must not use heavy fuel oil with a sulphur content over 1% by mass.

If you have pre-1987 combustion equipment you can apply for a sulphur content of liquid fuels permit from SEPA in Scotland or from the Industrial and Radiochemical Inspectorate in Northern Ireland.

You must gain approval from either your environmental regulator or sewerage undertaker to discharge to surface waters, groundwater or foul sewers condensate from:

  • steam traps
  • acid from regenerating ion exchange resins
  • boiler blowdown water.

Good practice

  • Visually inspect your emissions regularly so you can detect problems early.
  • Carry out planned maintenance to ensure that your boiler meets air emission standards and operates efficiently.
  • Use cleaner fuels, such as gas, to limit the environmental impact of your boiler.
  • Make use of the free services available to your business to help reduce your demand for energy and heat.

Energy efficiency

Consider the use of Combined Heat and Power (CHP) systems to increase efficiency and cut your bills

Further information no energy and steam generation

See our guidance on generating energy from waste

Process guidance notes are available which provide details of how your business is regulated for emissions to air. You can buy process guidance notes from the Stationery Office or download them from Defra.

The Stationery Office Bookshop

Defra: Process guidance notes (PG) notes

DAERA: Guidance on the Waste Incineration Directive

Scottish Government: Practical guide to the Waste Incineration Regulations

SEE ALSO: Combined heat and power, Energy efficiency, Generate renewable energy

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Permits

NIEA - Apply online

SEPA - Application forms