The Environment Agency has called on plastics reprocessors to collect data on gas emissions from their plants following a review of permit requirements.
The EA has written to 19 companies to warn that exemptions covering the heat treatment of plastics could come to an end.
Plastics recyclers have been exempt from requiring a permit because of a lack of evidence on the level of atmospheric emissions generated by their processes but now the agency wants to introduce a standard regime.
The letter asks plastics recyclers to collect information on air emissions by setting up monitoring programmes at their own expense.
An specialist in the EA will co-ordinate the monitoring to ensure a consistent methodology allow results across sites to be compared.
“If we can’t get the information we need we will have to withdraw the position statement on expiry and sites treating plastics will need a permit,” the letter said.
“This is likely to attract an application fee and an annual subsistence charge of several thousand pounds. Your activity has the potential to be regarded as low risk and may even be considered for a new exemption but without this information we cannot move forward.”
The new rules could come into force by June 2015.