You are here:

Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC):  Related air quality and regulatory systems

Local Air Quality Management Areas

Local authorities have statutory duties for local air quality management (LAQM) under the Environment Act 1995. They are required to carry out regular reviews and assessments of air quality in their area against standards and objectives in the national Air Quality Strategy and which have been prescribed in regulations for the purpose of LAQM. Where it is found these are unlikely to be met, authorities must designate air quality management areas (AQMAs) and prepare and implement remedial action plans to tackle the problem.

Find out more about local air quality management.

Obviously the presence of industrial activities at any location will impact upon the air quality at that location (and in some cases beyond).

It is important to understand that whilst both the EP Regulations relating to Part B and Part A(2) industrial activities and the Air Quality Strategy regulations are regulated by the local authorities and impact upon air quality generally, the regulations themselves are different and are separate policy areas.


Paints Directive (2004/42/EC)

Directive 2004/42/EC on the limitation of emissions of volatile organic compounds due to the use of organic solvents in certain paints and varnishes and vehicle refinishing products and amending Directive 1999/13/EC.

What is the purpose of the Paints Directive?

The Paints Directive aims to reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs, solvents) across the UK and Europe. VOCs are precursors to the formation of ground level ozone (summer smog) and reductions resulting from implementation of this Directive will lead to improvements in air quality and public health.

How does the Paints Directive reduce emissions?

The Paints Directive applies a product based approach to control emissions by setting:

  • Maximum content limits for solvents (VOCs) in decorative paints, varnishes and vehicle refinishing products, placed on the market from 01 January 2007 (Phase I);
  • More stringent limits for the maximum content limits of solvents of decorative paints and varnishes, placed on the market from 01 January 2010 (Phase II).
UK implementation of the Paints Directive – the Regulations

The Directive has been implemented in the UK by the Volatile Organic Compounds in Paints, Varnishes and Vehicle Refinishing Products Regulations 2005 (Statutory Instrument 2005, No. 2773):

Following public consultation in January 2009 Defra has produced the following package of measures to ensure compliance with the Regulations:

  • the delegation of monitoring and enforcement functions under the 2005 Regulations to local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales and also to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA);
  • dispensing with the previously-proposed licensing scheme intended to allow marketing of higher-solvent paints for coating vintage vehicles and historic buildings;
  • ending the extended allowance given to exhaust old stocks of non-compliant, higher-solvent paints, and stating that we will not make a similar broad allowance when the solvent levels must be further reduced in 2010;
  • issuing guidance on light-touch enforcement and an Industry Code of Practice.


Consultation: on a licensing scheme for the sale and purchase of non-compliant paints for use on historic buildings and vintage vehicles

In September 2007, Defra published a consultation paper on proposals for a licensing scheme which would implement the derogation for historic buildings and vintage vehicles.

The licensing scheme would have allowed individuals and businesses to obtain non-compliant paint products for exclusive use in the restoration and maintenance of historic buildings and vintage vehicles.

The consultation closed in December 2007 and a summary of responses was published in April 2008. The licensing scheme was found to be disproportionately complex and we have now proposed an alternative approach without licensing.

Consultation on implementation of the Paint Products Regulations 2005 addressing monitoring and enforcement issues

Defra issued a further consultation on monitoring and enforcement issues in relation to the 2005 Regulations and setting out the proposed alternative to licensing. The consultation was issued on 6 January 2009 and closes on 31 March.



Statutory nuisance

Where an industrial activity does not need a permit because is not caught by the PPC element of Environmental Permitting  (due to its size or the activity is not “listed” in the Environmental Permitting  Regulations), the public can still pursue a noise or smell being emitted from an industrial installation.

Local authorities have a duty to investigate complaints of noise or odour emitted from premises and being prejudicial to health or a nuisance under Part III of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Please see:

  • Odour pages on this site
  • Noise pages on this site


Waste Management

A new regime under the Environmental Permitting Regulations came into force in England and Wales on 6 April 2008. This streamlined and combined Waste Management Licensing and PPC to create a single environmental permit with a common approach to permit applications, maintenance, surrender and enforcement. Further information can be found on the waste permitting web page.

More information can also be found on the Environment Agency website at the address below or calling 08708 506 506.

Page last modified:15 June 2009