Defra has encouraged the Wood Protection Association (WPA) to co-ordinate a response to new European regulation affecting timber treatment plants.

Under the EU Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) any timber treatment installation whose plant production capacity exceeds 75m³ per day will require a permit to operate.

The WPA hosted a recent meeting, attended by about 30 people, to brief the UK wood preservation industry about the implementation of the legislation and the implications for operators of timber treatment plants. Members of Confor, the UK Forest Products Association and Timber Trade Federation were invited to the meeting.

Plants using organic solvent wood preservatives and creosote have required permits for some time now, but Defra’s head of local authority pollution control told the WPA meeting that waterborne wood preservatives were also now included in the scope of the legislation.

WPA director Steve Young said some people attending were surprised at the 75m³ threshold being set, as the level would include a lot of treatment plants.

Requirements for a permit to be granted will be set out in the European Best Available Techniques Reference Document (BREF), which is still being formulated. Until its launch, the WPA code of practice will be used as a basis for permit issue.

“We are committed to helping our members to respond to the requirements of the IED and working with other UK and European timber trade associations to ensure the BREF does not throw up any surprises for timber treaters,” he said.

Consultation will be launched shortly to assess whether local authorities or other agencies should administer the regulation.

IED regulatory control will apply to any new timber treatment plant commissioned on or after January 7, 2013, while existing plants have until July 7, 2015 to obtain a permit.

A full briefing document for timber treaters is available from the WPA.