ERA regulates installations that are within scope of the Industrial Emissions Directive (2010/75/EU). Provisions for installations and activities using Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) have been transposed via SL 549.79, and are being implemented through the Environmental Permitting system. Installations whose activities fall within scope of this legislation require an Environmental Permit from ERA (Environmental Permit) in order to carry out these activities. ERA is requesting companies that fall within scope of the Industrial Emissions (Limitation of Volatile Organic Compounds) Regulation to inform the Authority and apply for a relevant operational permit.
The aim of the legislation targeting VOC emissions is to prevent or reduce the direct and indirect effects of such emissions into the environment and the potential risks to human health. The legislation provides solvent consumption thresholds and emission limit values for the respective activities, together with reduction schemes aimed at reducing emissions either by changing to solvent-free processes or use of solvents with lower VOC content.
Volatile organic compounds, are organic compounds having at 293.15 K a vapour pressure of 0.01 kPa or more, or having a corresponding volatility under the particular conditions of use. Due to their characteristics, the use of VOC solvents in certain installations gives rise to emissions of organic compounds that contribute directly to air pollution and climate change. Some are also ozone precursors, i.e. they react chemically with nitrogen oxides in the presence of sunlight to form ozone. While ozone is beneficial in the upper atmosphere, where it shields the earth from dangerous UV rays, it can be harmful when present in high concentrations at ground level. Volatile Organic compounds are themselves when harmful when present in high concentrations.