The Environment Protection Department within the Malta Environment and Planning Authority is currently in the process of issuing Environmental Permits to large scale installations. The aim of the Directorate is to integrate the VOC solvent emission regulations into the environmental permit conditions . The EPD is requesting companies that fall within scope of Legal Notice 349 of 2010, Limitation of Volatile Organic to Compounds Regulations to inform the Authority and apply for a relevant operational permit.
What are VOC solvents?
Volatile organic compounds, as defined in EU Directive 1999/13/EC, 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 for use. Due to their characteristics, the use of VOC solvents in certain installations gives rise to emissions of organic compounds that grossly contribute to climate change causing damage to natural resources and human health.
EU directive 1999/13/EC & National Legislation
The EU Directive 1999/13/EC regulates the emissions of volatile organic compounds from a wide range of industrial activities and installations. The aim of the Directive is to prevent or reduce the direct and indirect effects of such emissions into the environment, mainly into air, and the potential risks to human health. The Directive 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. It should be noted that the scope of the Directive does not include painting activities. These are regulated separately by VOC Paints Directive (2004/42/EC).
The Paints Directive (2004/42/EC) complements measures taken at a national level in order to ensure compliance with the ceiling for emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds. The products falling under the scope of this Directive are paints for use on buildings or their trims, fittings and structures as well as paints used for vehicle refinishings. These products should have appropriate labelling when placed on the market, indicating the sub-category of the product (from Annex I of the Paints Directive), as well as the VOC content in g/L in its ready to use condition. Further information on this Directive can be found here.
The Solvents Directive 1999/13/EC was transposed in national legislation through the Limitation of Emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds Regulations (L.N 225 of 2001) under the Environment Protection Act. The Regulations were subsequently amended in 2007 and 2010 through the Limitation of Volatile Organic Compounds (Amendment) Regulations (L.N 349 of 2010), which transposed the amendments to Directive 1999/13/EC according to Article 13 of Directive 2004/42/EC and corrected discrepancies in the principal Regulations.