The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is advising Vehicle Refinishers and Automotive Paint Suppliers that new regulations that came into force on January 1, replacing existing regulations in relation to vehicle refinishing activities and paints contain a number of important revisions and improvements.
The EPA says the new regulations are an improvement on the previous regulations, particularly in relation to the provisions for the inspection and certification of vehicle refinishing installations, as follows:
- Accredited Inspection Contractors (AICs) will be replaced by an EPA appointed panel of approved assessors which shall be in place before the 30th of September, 2013. Between now and the establishment of the national panel, Certificate Europe is acting as the interim approved assessor.
- Local Authorities can now issue certificates of compliance for up to 3 years rather than the previous 2 year period. However, certificates of a shorter duration may be issued if a Local Authority has concerns about a specific installation.
- Existing certificates of approval, that were valid on the 31st of December, 2012, may, following submission of an application and a report from the interim approved assessor, be renewed by a Local Authority to be valid until the 30th September 2016. There will be no benefit in waiting until after September 30th 2013 to avail of the new panel of approved assessors as your certificate will be back-dated and you may not get the full three year period where there has been a period of non-compliance with the regulations.
- The application fee payable by operators to their Local Authority has increased from €50 to €70 for new applications (€50 for renewals). If an operator does not renew their certificate of compliance prior to its expiry date, they must then apply for a new certificate.
- Authorised persons have the powers to seize prohibited refinishing products and the person from whom they were seized will be liable for the cost of the disposal of these products.
- The fine for uncertified operators has increased from €3,000 to €5,000 or imprisonment for up to six months, or both.
It is hoped that compliant operators will see benefits from the new regulations through increased competition for the provision of inspection services and through the provision of longer certification periods for compliant operators.
In order to obtain a certificate under these Regulations, an operator must first arrange for an approved assessor (currently Certification Europe), to review their operations and obtain a compliant report. Operators must then submit this report along with a completed application form and fee to their relevant Local Authority for assessment.