There are three main legislative routes for tackling air emissions from fixed installations:
- regulation of (mainly) industry by either the Environment Agency or local authorities under the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2010 integrated pollution prevention and control and local authority pollution control regimes.
- regulation of smoke, grit and dust emissions from industrial, commercial and domestic combustion under the Clean Air Act 1993 (consolidated from the Clean Air Acts of 1956 and 1968). There is guidance on UK smoke control areasincluding advice on authorised fuels, exempt appliances, and how to contact your local authority to find out if where you live or work is in a smoke control area.
- regulation of smoke, odour and other statutory nuisances under the largely-reactive provisions of Part III of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Specific guidance has been issued on the interrelationship (PDF 430 KB) between statutory nuisance and the Environmental Permitting Regulations.
Pollution in the air is also addressed through:
- setting limit values for the amount of different pollutants permitted in the air, and through the related Local Air Quality Management system set up to identify areas where air quality is less good and to provide a framework for improvement; and
- complying with international requirements for the total amount (known as an “emission ceiling”) of different pollutants that can be emitted from the UK as a whole. These requirements are in place because pollution can travel long distances and therefore affect other countries.
The Defra website also has separate pages covering waste, water, noise and other environmental issues relevant to the integrated pollution prevention and control regime.