Hazardous substance consent

If you want to store or use hazardous substances at or above defined limits at a site, you must get hazardous substance consent.

This is a legal requirement. The main regulations are:

  • the Planning (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2015
  • the Town and Country Planning (Hazardous Substances) (Scotland) Regulations 2015
  • the Planning (Hazardous Substances) (Wales) Regulations 2015

Apply to the Hazardous Substance Authority

You apply for consent for your site to the hazardous substances authority (HSA), which is usually the local planning authority. You cannot apply directly to HSE.

In England you can look up your Local Planning Authority online at the Planning Portal. In Scotland use ePlanning Scotland and in Wales you can look up your Local Planning Authority online.

You can use the template application forms to understand what information HSE requires you to submit to the hazardous substances authority.

Hazardous substances consent is an important part of the control of major hazards. It helps the HSA to decide if the presence of a significant quantity of a hazardous substance is acceptable in a particular location.

When you’ll get a decision on an application

You should allow between 6 to 12 months to get a decision on hazardous substances consent from the hazardous substances authority.

HSE's role

HSE is a statutory consultee on applications for hazardous substances consent. We advise the HSA on whether consent should be granted. Our advice aims to mitigate the effects of a major accident. We look at the hazards and risks that the hazardous substance may present to people nearby. We also take into account existing and potential developments in the area.

When we assess an application, we produce a map with three risk zones. The zones (sometimes referred to as 'contours') show levels of risk or harm that people would face. If the HSA grant consent, the map is used to show the areas within which HSE must be consulted for any relevant future planning applications.

If HSE advises the HSA against granting consent, we’ll explain the reasons for this advice if asked to.

HSE’s advice

As part of the government’s response to the Penfold Review, HSE agreed to deliver statutory advice to HSAs within 13 to 26 weeks, rather than the 21 to 28 days set out in legislation. These agreed timeframes better reflect the detailed assessment work needed.

To avoid delay in the consideration of your application, make sure that your application contains all the required information. The template application forms will help you understand what information is required.

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Updated: 2024-02-20