Some industrial and commercial activities and processes emit pollutants that can adversely affect human health and the environment.

Their emissions are restricted and controlled by the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999, and the operators of these installations and activities must have a 'Permit' to pollute.

When the permit is granted, the Pollution Control Team will attach conditions to the permit to minimise the emissions of pollutants.

This may include:

  • requirements for pollution control equipment
  • routine monitoring
  • use the height of chimneys and other measures designed to make emissions harmless to the environment

An application for a permit may be refused in the following circumstances:

  • Where the proposal does not satisfy the legal requirements
  • Where BAT (Best Available Techniques) are not being used
  • Where the fee has not been paid

Applications must be advertised in the local press. Details of those applications, processes, pollution monitoring results and copies of any Enforcement or Prohibition Notices served fare all open to public scrutiny at the local authority office.

Provisions are made to ensure holders of Permits can renew annually or transfer them at any time.

Permitted Range of Activities and Installations  

  • Animal and plant treatment processes, e.g. tobacco processing
  • Cement and lime processes, e.g. cement batching plants
  • Coating processes, e.g. vehicle respraying, print works
  • Non-ferrous processes
  • Petrol filling stations
  • Timber processes, e.g. the sawing and planing of timber
  • Waste oil burners (see note below)

Small waste oil burners (SWOBs)

Small waste oil burners (SWOBs) are simple devices used to burn waste oil to provide heating. They are often used in vehicle repair garages but can be found in any industrial premises that produce waste oil.

All operators of SWOBs to register them with their Local Authority. Once registered, the operator is given a permit containing various conditions that they must comply with to operate the SWOB.   

If you currently operate a SWOB and do not have a permit (you should stop immediately).

All SWOBs will be required to comply with the Waste Incineration Directive (WID). This will place additional conditions on the permit. 

If you currently hold a permit to operate a SWOB you will no longer be able to burn waste oil in it. If you wish to continue operating your SWOB after this date you have 2 options, either:

1. Choose to burn other non-waste fuel such as fuel oil, diesel (including red diesel), Processed Fuel oil (PFO), kerosene or paraffin (you should refer to manufacturer's instructions for suitable fuel for your equipment) or

2. Continue to burn waste oil in your SWOB and obtain a relevant permit from this council under Schedule 13A of the EPR 2010. Please note that the charges for this are set by DEFRA and are likely to be cost-prohibitive

If you burn waste oil in a SWOB after 31 March 2016 and have not applied for a new permit you will be committing an offence under Regulation 38 EPR 2010.  If you are found guilty of an offence under Regulation 38 you are liable:

(a) on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £50,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months, or to both; or

(b) on conviction on indictment to a fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years, or to both.

If you have any questions regarding the use and operation of SWOBs please contact Environmental Health & Safer Places on 0115 915 2000,