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UK Pollutant and Transfer Register

UK Pollutant and Transfer Register (UK-PRTR)

The UK-PRTR is a publicly accessible dataset that provides detailed information about pollution emissions from industrial sites and other designated sources across the United Kingdom.

As a consequence of EU exit, the E-PRTR Regulation became UK law and is known as the UK-PRTR. The EU and the UK are signatories to the UNECE PRTR Protocol, which is the overarching legal instrument for the respective PRTRs.

Annex I of the UK PRTR legislation on PRTRs specifies which activities need to report their information. In some cases, these activities are subdivided.

The industrial or business facilities report the amounts of substances released into each environmental medium (air, water, soil), or transferred off-site for waste management or wastewater treatment.

The 2003 Kiev Protocol on PRTRs requires parties to the agreement to make this information publicly available. The UKPRTR is the publicly available register that implements the PRTR (Kiev) Protocol and UK PRTR legislation.

This register meets the requirements of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN-ECE) Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers. The public can use the register free of charge to search for PRTR data sets.

The UK-PRTR Legislation aims to enhance public access to environmental information through the establishment of a coherent and integrated UK-PRTR, thereby also contributing to the prevention and reduction of pollution, delivering data for policy makers and facilitating public participation in environmental decision-making.

The difference between SPRI and UK-PRTR is UK-PRTR is a subset of SPRI sites (SPRI). This is because of several factors:

  • SPRI has more pollutants (110) to be reported by operators;
  • In most cases the pollutant thresholds are much lower in SPRI (UK-PRTR thresholds are designed to capture 90% of all European industrial releases whereas the SPRI thresholds are designed to capture 90% of Scottish industrial releases);
  • SPRI has lower activity thresholds for some activities e.g. Urban Waste Water Treatment Plants.

This makes SPRI relevant to Scotland and helps put Scottish releases into context with industrial releases from the rest of the UK and Europe.

Activities reported to UK-PRTR

Annex I of the UK-PRTR Legislation lists 65 activities. Annex I enables operators to identify whether they are affected by the associated reporting obligations. The activities are grouped in 9 activity sectors:

  • energy;
  • production and processing of metals;
  • mineral industry;
  • chemical industry;
  • waste and waste water management;
  • paper and wood production and processing;
  • intensive livestock production and aquaculture;
  • animal and vegetable products from the food and beverage sector;
  • other activities.

If an activity specified in Annex I is carried out and the capacity threshold specified therein is exceeded, there is an obligation to report releases and off-site transfers; with the additional condition that certain release threshold values or threshold values for off-site transfer of pollutants in waste water destined for treatment or threshold values for waste must also be exceeded.

For releases of pollutants to air, water and land and for off-site transfers of pollutants in waste water the corresponding threshold values are specified for each pollutant in Annex II of the UK-PRTR Legislation. Annex II of the Legislation lists the 91 pollutants that are relevant for reporting under the UK-PRTR. The pollutants are specified by a consecutive number, the CAS number, where available, and the name of the pollutant.

For off-site transfers of waste the threshold values are 2 tonnes per year for hazardous waste and 2,000 tonnes per year for non-hazardous waste.

For further information on the UK-PRTR please visit the UK-PRTR website.