Sites which want to hold certain quantities of hazardous substances at or above defined limits must obtain hazardous substance consent, in accordance with the Planning (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2015, the Town and Country Planning (Hazardous Substances) (Scotland) Regulations 2015 and the Planning (Hazardous Substances) (Wales) Regulations 2015.
The sites obtain consent from the Hazardous Substances Authority (HSA), which is usually the local planning authority. The HSA, must consult HSE on these applications.
Hazardous substances consent is an important mechanism in the overall control of major hazards as it enables the HSA to consider whether the presence of a significant quantity of a hazardous substance is acceptable in a particular location.
HSE is a statutory consultee on applications for hazardous substances consent. HSE will consider the hazards and risks which the hazardous substance may present to people in the surrounding area, and take account of existing and potential developments, in advising the HSA on whether or not consent should be granted. HSE’s advice is aimed at mitigating the effects of a major accident on the population around a major hazard site.
In assessing the application for consent, HSE will produce a map with three risk contours (or zones), representing defined levels of risk or harm which any individual would be subject to. Should the HSA grant consent, this map defines the consultation distance within which HSE must be consulted over any relevant future planning applications.
If HSE advises against the granting of hazardous substances consent, it will, on request, explain the reasons for this advice to the HSA.
HSE’s Planning Advice Web App cannot be used for consulting HSE on applications for Hazardous Substances Consent. These must be referred to HSE’s Hazardous Installations Directorate Chemical, Explosive and Microbiological Hazards Unit 5 (HID CEMHD5).