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Environmental Protection (Disposal of Polychlorinated Biphenyls and other Dangerous Substances) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2020

Synopsis

These regulations will reduce the polychlorinated biphenyl contamination threshold that triggers the requirement for decontamination and disposal.

The new threshold requires decontamination and disposal of affected equipment by 31 December 2025.

 
 
 

Summary

The Environmental Protection (Disposal of Polychlorinated Biphenyls and other Dangerous Substances) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2020 will amend the Environmental Protection (Disposal of Polychlorinated Biphenyls and other Dangerous Substances) (Scotland) Regulations 2000 on 14 February 2021.

This legislation applies in Scotland only

What will change?

The 2020 regulations will apply stricter requirements on PCB-contaminated equipment, reducing the contamination threshold for obligations to apply:

  • Transformer fluids with PCB content of more than 0.005% by weight (50ppm) may not be used after 31 December 2025, unless the unit holds less than 50 millilitres of these fluids.
  • After 31 December 2025 these transformers must be decontaminated or disposed of as soon as possible.
  • The volume-based exemption of units containing five litres or less of potentially PCB-contaminated fluids is reduced to 50 millilitres.

Holders of equipment where it is reasonable to assume fluids contain 0.005% or less of PCBs or have a total volume of 50 ml or less of PCB-contaminated fluid may label it as “PCBs contaminated <0.05% or <0.05dm3”.

Requirements on Decontamination

A stricter definition of decontamination is applied. Decontamination will be required to achieve:

  • a PCB concentration of 0.005% by weight (50ppm) or less; or
  • a total volume of 50 millilitres of PCB-contaminated fluids

Background

The Environmental Protection (Disposal of Polychlorinated Biphenyls and other Dangerous Substances) (Scotland) Regulations 2000 previously authorised the continued use of transformers containing fluids where it was reasonable to assume these had a PCB content of 0.05% by weight (500ppm) or less. This could continue until the end of the transformer’s useful life, when the unit was to be disposed of as soon as possible unless decontaminated.

Restrictions under the 2000 regulations only applied to units containing more than five litres of PCB-contaminated fluid.

The amendments are made in order to implement the Recast Persistent Organic Pollutants Regulation (EU) 2019/1021 in Scotland.

 

 

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