Garages that burn waste oil in a small waste oil burner (SWOB) will be required to obtain a new permit under Schedule 13A of the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2010.
It follows a government amendment to reduce the emission of air pollutants from the use of waste oil as a fuel and will come into force from April 2016.
Speaking to GW, a DEFRA spokesperson said: “[Independent garages] could continue to use their SWOB but using non-waste fuel instead of waste oil.
“Or, if they want to continue to burn waste oil, they will need to obtain the necessary permit in accordance with Schedule 13A of the Environmental Permitting Regulations, meeting the requirements of the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) for the operation of waste incineration and waste co-incineration plants.
“Alternatively they can switch to using a different heating system, like a gas boiler.”
Permits will continue to be issued by local authorities with an initial application fee of £3,218 and an annual fee of £1,384, as set by DEFRA.
In a reminder to its members, the Independent Garage Association (IGA) has this week warned that there could be extra charges on top of this.
“There is also likely to be additional monitoring requirements which will further increase costs,” the IGA has said.
“This is likely to be cost prohibitive for most garages and the only alternative will be to burn non-waste fuel.”
A consultation on the implementation of the amendments ran from September 14 to October 26, 2015 and received 23 responses, of which five were ‘small garages’.
Among the respondents, one said they would need to consider changing to an alternative heating system and a further two noted that they were not on the gas-grid and would be unable to switch to this as an alternative fuel source.
Three respondents suggested that some businesses may be expected to pay for the disposal of waste oil due to the small volumes produced or the quality of the waste oil as opposed to receiving payment from the recycling industry and feared it could result in the illegal dumping of waste oil.
DEFRA has defended the move, saying: “We have assumed full compliance in the impact assessment because there is a well established recycling industry and illegal dumping of waste oil carries penalties.”
Four respondents argued that DEFRA’s impact assessment didn’t ‘take account of the environmental damage caused by the collection of waste oil and the delivery of recycled oil to the user’ and a question about why DEFRA are ‘penalising individuals for having a low carbon footprint for burning waste oil at the point of recovery’ was also raised.
A spokesperson at ZM Heaters, distributors of ZM SWOBs, told GW: “From a greenhouse gas emissions point of view, incinerating waste oil at source for space heating is the perfect means of disposal.
“Under the new regime, this oil will still be burned.
“It will just be burned elsewhere.
“So what you will have is an energy intensive process to collect, process, package and redeliver the oil before the same outcome results.
“The fact is burning waste oil at source is still promoted as a ‘green’ solution outside the EU, including in North America.”
Despite this, DEFRA claims that the carbon footprint from processing waste oil would be lower than the human health and environmental benefits from lower air quality pollution caused by waste oil incineration.
“The combined emissions of pollutants arising from processing waste oil and using alternative fuel are lower than the emissions from burning waste oil,” the agency explained.
ZM Heaters told GW: “Despite having previously attended a DEFRA meeting in London involving stakeholders some years ago, we were blindsided entirely by this proposed change in law.
“Even at this late stage, the only information we’ve received has been back from customers’ who’ve received letters from local authority concerning changes to the permit regime.
“There’s a lot of confusion around this but the products we supply can be used with diesel or heating oil too so operators don’t immediately need to go out and buy new heaters.”
Failure to comply to the new requirements – due to come into force in April – is an offence and regulators will be expected to issue an enforcement notice and refer the case for prosecution where appropriate.
Have you received a letter about the changes to SWOB permits yet? Will you continue to use your SWOB, if so what fuel will you be using? Or will the permit fees force you to look for alternative ways to stay warm? Leave your comments and any concerns in the comments below.