Change has been kept to a minimum as far as possible in producing the COMAH Regulations 2015 to implement the Seveso III Directive. However, there are changes that operators and other stakeholders will need to be aware of. These have been summarised on the changes page but all duty holders and other stakeholders will need to familiarise themselves with the new Regulations and the accompanying guidance when the finalised versions are published in March 2015.
The Seveso III Directive, and by extension the COMAH Regulations 2015, apply to any business where dangerous substances, as set out in Annex 1 of the Directive, are either present on site at or above the threshold quantities or could be generated in the event of an accident. All types of businesses with dangerous substances are covered, not just those in the chemical sector.
If you already operate a COMAH site you will need to:
Although your site may currently be out of scope of the Seveso II Directive, you will need to check the changes to Annex 1 of the Seveso III Directive which could affect whether your site remains out of scope or becomes an upper or lower tier site.
If you will be in scope of Seveso III you will need to check which requirements you will be obliged to comply with and meet the appropriate timescales.
Major incidents are rare events but emergency planning, preparedness and response help to ensure that the effects of any that do occur are kept as small as possible.
Local authorities must prepare adequate emergency plans to deal with the off-site consequences of possible major accidents at upper tier sites, and should review and where necessary revise them. They must also test them at specified intervals.
Local authorities will need to prepare emergency plans for any sites in their area that become upper tier sites as a result of the changes in the Seveso III Directive.
Land use planning is one of the measures in the Seveso III Directive intended to mitigate the effects of a major accident in the unlikely event that one occurs.
The changes to the land use planning requirements of the Seveso III Directive will be implemented through planning legislation which is the responsibility of the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Welsh and Scottish Governments.