Volatile Organic Compound(VOC) Process Explained

When applying to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a VOC permit you  must satisfy a number of legislative requirements largely set out in:

EPA Act 1992 (Control of Volatile Organic Compound Emissions Resulting from Petrol Storage and Distribution) Regulations, 1997 (S.I. 374 of 1997).

 This application process involves a number of stages:

 Stage 1: Pre-Application

Before making an application you must:        

  • Publish a notice in a newspaper circulating in the area. 
  • Erect a site notice indicating that you propose to apply for a permit. 

The content of the notices is set out in the EPA Act 1992 (Control of Volatile Organic Compound Emissions Resulting from Petrol Storage and Distribution) Regulations, 1997 (S.I. 374 of 1997).


Stage 2: Making an Application 

When submitting an application it is important that: 

  • You answer all questions set out in the First Schedule of the EPA Act 1992 (Control of Volatile Organic Compound Emissions Resulting from Petrol Storage and Distribution) Regulations, 1997 (S.I. 374 of 1997).
  • You attach all necessary supporting documentation, including fee.

If your application does not comply with the First Schedule of the Regulations, we:

  • May request the outstanding application information under Article 10(10)
  • Proceed with the decision without the information, or
  • Reject your application.

We may extend the period for assessment of your application in certain circumstances. 

Before making our Proposed Decision we will take into account any written submissions received. 

Stage 3:  Proposed Decision 

We are required to indicate how we propose to determine an application and will: 

  • Forward the Proposed Decision to those who made a submission;
  • Make the Proposed Decision available for public inspection at our HQ;
  • Notify public bodies specified in the above Regulations.

Stage 4: Objections (and Submissions on Objections)

Any person(s) or body (including the applicant for a permit or an existing permit holder) can make an objection to the Agency within one month of the Proposed Decision being issued.

The applicant and those submitting a valid  objection will be regarded as a party or parties to an objection. 

The applicant and any person(s) or body on submitting a valid objection will be issued with a copy of all valid objections.  Submissions in relation to an objection can be made within one month of copies of the objection being circulated.

We cannot consider submissions on objections received after this one month period and cannot consider further elaborations.

We do have the discretion, however, in the interests of justice and where in particular circumstances we consider appropriate, to request a party to an objection to make a submission in relation to any matter which has arisen in the course of an objection.

Where appropriate, we may request any party to an objection to submit  further information within a specified period.

Where no valid objection is made within the prescribed period, we will issue our decision as per the Proposed Decision.

Stage 5:   Oral Hearings

A person making a valid objection may request an oral hearing.  This involves a fee.  

Stage 6:  EPA Final Decisions

In arriving at our decision, we will consider the application and all objections, submissions received and, where an oral hearing has been held, the report and recommendation of the person(s) who conducted the hearing.

When a final decision has been made, we will notify:

The applicant/existing permit holder;

  • Anyone who made a written submission;
  • Anyone  who made a valid objection;
  • Public bodies specified in the regulations.

The decision of the Agency will be made available for inspection and published in a newspaper circulating in the area.

Judicial Review Notice

Judicial Review of Environmental Protection Agency decisions under the provisions of the Environmental Protection Agency Act, 1992 (Control of volatile organic compound emissions resulting from the storage of petrol and its distribution) Regulations, 1997 (S.I. No. 374 of 1997) 
A person wishing to challenge the validity of an EPA decision may do so by way of judicial review only. The validity of a decision taken by the EPA may only be questioned by making an application for Judicial Review under Order 84 of the Rules of the Superior Courts (as amended). The Rules of the Superior Courts and all relevant amendments can be found at www.courts.ie or www.irishstatutebook.ie  

Order 84 rule 21(1) of the Rules of the Superior Courts (as amended) provides that any application for judicial review must be made within three months of the decision of the EPA. Order 84 rule 21(3) allows the High Court extend this period in limited circumstances. 
Further information on Judicial Review in environmental and planning matters may be found at www.citizensinformation.ie (see http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/environment/environmental_law/judicial_review_in_planning_and_environmental_matters.html
Disclaimer:  The above is intended for information purposes. It does not purport to be a legal interpretation of the relevant provisions and it would be advisable for persons contemplating judicial review proceedings to seek independent legal advice.


Learn more

Search for a VOC permit  on this website.

 Find out more about lodging a Submission, lodging an Objection and Oral hearings.

Find out about other VOCs under Solvents and Decorative Paints Legislation including regulations for activities such as Dry Cleaners, Vehicle Refinishers and the control of paint products. For further information contact our Environmental Licensing Programme at:

Office of Environmental Sustainability
PO Box 3000
Johnstown Castle Estate
County Wexford
Telephone Locall 1890 33 55 99 or 053 91 60600
Email licensing@epa.ie