Legal Position on Small Waste Oil Burners (updated Jan ’16)

In September 2015 the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) consulted on revised guidance in respect of Small Waste Oil Burners (SWOB).

Previous guidance allowed local authorities to consider SWOBs on a case-by-case basis and in most cases exempt them from the regulations enforced under what was the EU ‘Waste Incineration Directive’ and more recently the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) (with a Part B LAPPC permit).

Under this policy, local authorities typically asked for a form, sometimes with an on-site assessment visit, before issuing a simple permit, typically costing less than £150 per year.

This relied on UK government’s interpretation that SWOBs fell outside the scope of the WID (EU Waste Incineration Directive). Following some objections, and legal challenge this position has now been changed.

The new guidance now explicitly states that Small Waste Oil burners are within the scope of the Environmental Permitting (England & Wales) Regulations 2010 and the European IED. This clarification means that in order to continue to burn waste oil in a SWOB after 31st March 2016 it will be necessary to have a permit under Schedule 13A of the Environmental Permitting (England & Wales) Regulations 2010.

Although these may still be issued by local authorities – and it appears there is both variation between local authorities as well as confusion within individual authorities on the changes – the fees will be set by DEFRA according to the RMI IGA.

They suggest an initial application fee of £3,218 and an annual fee of £1,384. It is believed that falling within the EU EID’s remit now also brings onerous obligations on flue gas testing / monitoring which will further increase costs.

Both of these things make it cost-prohibitive for most garages to obtain permits to burn waste oil. It simply become uneconomical where the costs of legal compliance outweigh the savings on fuel.

It is important to remember that the heaters themselves, often termed ‘universal waste oil heaters’ will be able to burn non-waste fuels and this is a perfectly legitimate way to continue to use your heater. Indeed, DEFRA themselves have estimated some 90 – 95% of waste oil heaters currently in use around the UK never had the permits required previously issued in the first place.

 Please note : whilst we try to keep information up to date and provide information that will be useful to customers we take no responsibility for errors or omissions.

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