B2.3.1 UK-wide Legislation

You do not need detailed knowledge of legislation for the exam.

Please note that due to the IEMA ending the course, this section is no longer being up-dated.


Dark Smoke (Permitted Periods) Regulations 1958 [SI No. 498]

These regulations detail the circumstances under which dark and black smoke emissions can be permitted (or conversely prohibited) from chimneys serving boilers and industrial plant.

Dark Smoke

A Ringelmann chart is used to define dark smoke. The chart has five shades of grey with 0 being clear and 5 being black. Smoke is considered ‘dark’ if it has a shade of 2 or darker. You can find the Ringelmann chart in British Standard BS2742C.

Clean Air Act 1993

This Act bans the emission of dark smoke from chimneys and furnaces. It also sets minimum chimney heights and creates smoke control zones.

Volatile Organic Compounds in Paints, Varnishes and Vehicle Refinishing Products Regulations 2005 [SI No. 2773] 

These regulations implemented the Paints Directive in the UK. They apply limits to the VOC content of paints, varnishes and vehicle refinishing products. They also include a requirement that such products display a label indicating the relevant VOC limit values, measured in g/l (grams per litre).

These regulations also amend the Pollution Prevention and Control (England and Wales) Regulations 2000 by altering the definition of ‘vehicle refinishing’.

Large Combustion Plants (National Emission Reduction Plan) Regulations 2007 [SI No. 2325] 

These regulations implement the requirements of Large Combustion Plant Directive in the UK. They contain requirements relating to the large combustion plants. In addition, they require that a national emissions reduction plan be published.

CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme Order 2010 [SI 768]

Establishes for the UK a new energy efficiency scheme designed to reduce carbon emissions through improving energy efficiency in public and private sector organisations that consume large amounts of electricity, gas and other fuels. This applies to the UK.

Solvent Emissions (England and Wales) Regulations 2004 [SI 107]

The regulations have been introduced to further limit the emissions of volatile organic compounds due to the use of organic solvents in certain activities and installations. They implement the European Directive 1999/13/EC, commonly referred to as The Solvent Emissions Directive (the “SED”).

The SED activities listed in Annex I of the Directive  must be regulated by permit. The permit must deliver certain requirements:

  • Adhesive Coating
  • Coating Activity
  • Coil Coating
  • Dry Cleaning
  • Footwear Manufacture
  • Manufacturing of Coating Preparations, Varnishes, Inks and Adhesives
  • Manufacturing of Pharmaceutical Products
  • Printing
  • Rubber Conversion
  • Surface Cleaning
  • Vegetable Oil and Animal Fat Extraction and Vegetable Oil Refining Activities
  • Vehicle Refinishing
  • Winding Wire Coating
  • Wood Impregnation
  • Wood and Plastic Lamination


There are two main compliance options:

  • Meeting a VOC emission concentration limit and fugitive emission limits and submitting annual or continuous monitoring results depending on the size of emissions (limit values in SED Annex IIA); or
  • Using a solvent reduction approach to achieve the results that would be obtained from meeting a mass emission limit (“reduction scheme”). This approach is not to be employed where certain risk phrase compounds are used (methodology in SED Annex IIB).

In some cases (notably the coatings manufacturing and pharmaceuticals sectors) there is also the option of meeting a mass emission limit (total emission limit value).