DEFRA guidance on solvents regulations

The Environment Department (DEFRA) has issued guidance clarifying compliance deadlines under the solvents regulations which came into force earlier this year, implementing the EU solvents Directive (ENDS Report 343, pp 44-45 ).1

The Directive requires operators to minimise emissions either through meeting emission limits or implementing a solvent-use reduction programme. Operators are also required to substitute certain high-risk solvents for less harmful alternatives (ENDS Report 327, p 49 ).

The solvents regulations for both England and Wales and Scotland, use the term "shortest possible time" in connection with meeting the Directive's requirements. The guidance makes it clear how regulators should interpret this.

On substitution, operators have until no later than 2007 to switch from solvents that were classified as high risk before March 1999. For solvents that were classified as high risk after March 1999, operators have no more than six years from the date of classification. The same deadlines apply for compliance with emission limits.

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