The British Printing Industries Federation and the Flexible Packaging Association have slammed recent proposals by the Government to make the UK solvent emissions limits even lower than those set out by the European Commission in 1999.

The organisations expressed their complaints to Defra saying that, in some cases, the proposals may have harmful environmental side affects – such as having to install equipment with a higher fuel consumption. Businesses are also likely to incur large capital expenses at a time when many have spent considerable sums to comply with the current limits.

All printers could be affected by changes to the regulations. This year the Government is focusing on large to medium sized printers, who have installation with a consumption capacity of more than 200 tonnes per year. The changes will come into force this summer. Next year the net will be widened to catch printers with a consumption capacity of 25-200 tonnes of solvents per year.

The move to reduce emissions is part of the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999. The Government now intends to issue statutory guidance on Best Available Techniques for the main sectors regulated, including the printing sector which covers “associated varnishing, coating and laminating techniques.”