The Seveso Directive
The Seveso Directive was introduced following a disaster in the Italian town of Seveso in 1976. It aims to prevent major accidents involving dangerous substances and to limit consequences of such accidents for people and the environment. It was subsequently broadened as Seveso II.
In Northern Ireland the directive is implemented through the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations (COMAH), by a joint Competent Authority(CA), made up of the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.
COMAH applies when a site has more than a threshold quantity of dangerous substances present (Lower Tier). Sites are subject to more stringent controls if the quantities of substances present are above a higher threshold (Top Tier).
Site safety management
Lower tier sites are required to prepare a Major Accident Prevention Policy. Top tier sites prepare the more detailed Safety Report. Regular inspections and ongoing advice are provided by the Competent Authority. Learnings from relevant incidents are incorporated for example from Buncefield.
Development of off-site emergency plans are arranged by the competent authority. Emergency plans are tested by the emergency services, with the involvement of the COMAH site and the competent authority.
Land use planning
New development in the vicinity of COMAH sites is considered as part of planning approval processes. HSENI advise planning services by applying the PADHI guidelines (Planning Advice for Developments near Hazardous Installations).
- CHIS7 Chemical Information Sheet - Source HSE(GB)
- INDG 277 Leadership for the Major Hazard Industries - Source HSE(GB)
- Major Hazard Sites and Safety Reports What You Need to Know - Source HSE(GB)
- COMAH European Commission Draft Interim Report
- Competent Authority position on the COMAH regulation of Heavy Fuel Oil
- Directive 96/82/EC - major-accident hazards
- Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2000
- The Planning (Control of Major-Accident Hazards) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2009
- The Planning (Hazardous Substances) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2005
- Dangerous Substances (Notification and Marking of Sites) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1992
- The Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Repeals, Revocations and Amendments) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015
- Notification of Installations Handling Hazardous Substances (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2003
Please note that these links are to the original legislation, visitors should verify for themselves whether legislation is in force or whether it has been amended or repealed by subsequent legislation.