Thanks to clarification on new pollution permit rules, SMMT has saved members millions of pounds. In Ford’s case, the bill could have been as high as £3 million.
It followed discussions between SMMT and the Environment Agency on part of the Integrated Pollution and Prevention Control (IPPC) Directive. This says permits are needed for certain sites dealing with storage and treatment of cutting oils. These are used, for example, for lubrication when machining cast iron engine blocks and other components.
Originally it was unclear whether permits were needed for more than 10 automotive ‘installations’. However, SMMT was able to clarify with the Agency that permits only apply to merchant treatment facilities. In other words, independent companies treating third parties’ waste. SMMT also clarified that members’ storage and treatment of their own waste oils on site is exempt from the Waste Management Licensing regime.
Of course, the decision doesn’t mean automotive waste oils are not strictly regulated under environmental rules. Oils and sludges are collected by licensed waste carriers and sent to licensed recycling and waste management sites for proper treatment and disposal.
It simply means SMMT has brought clarity to an issue that had the potential to add unnecessary costs to many UK automotive manufacturing sites.