IPC guidance on contract chemicals, pilot plants

The fears of the speciality chemicals and pharmaceuticals industries that integrated pollution control (IPC) could lengthen their project lead-times to a commercially damaging extent appear to have been allayed for the time being by two guidance notes finalised by HM Inspectorate of Pollution (HMIP) in March.1 The guidance introduces two variants of a new "envelope" authorisation for use with pilot plants and facilities producing chemicals under contract.

The notes are intended to address a potential problem common to both types of operation. Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, HMIP has four months to authorise a process under IPC, and may take longer by agreement with the applicant.

This is at odds with the commercial imperatives of the two industries. Contract chemicals businesses need to respond quickly to customer demand if they are to compete with rivals elsewhere in Europe.

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