The Department of Environmental Affairs recently published a notice declaring small-scale char and charcoal plants controlled emitters (Notice) in terms of the National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act, No 39 of 2004 (Act).

The Notice establishes emission standards for small-scale char and charcoal plants in terms of the Act.

Existing and new small-scale char and charcoal plants will be regulated differently. Existing plants are defined as those that were legally authorised to operate as at 1 April 2010 or for which an application for an environmental authorisation had been submitted before this date.

Immediate compliance for existing and new small-scale char and charcoal plants with separate emission standards is required, with the standards for existing plants being less onerous. By 1 April 2020, all existing small-scale char and charcoal plants must comply with the minimum emission standards for new plants. The Notice also contains standard sampling and analysis methods.

Operators of such plants are required to submit at least one emissions report per annum to an air quality officer in the prescribed format. The first emissions report must be submitted within 12 months of the Notice. Information on how the measurements were carried out, what equipment was used, calibration certificates and any other information validating the emissions results or requested by the air quality officer must also be provided.