Permits for dry cleaners

Licence summary

If you run a dry cleaning business in the borough you have to apply for a permit under the Solvent Emissions Directive, Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999.

In order to obtain the permit, you will have to ensure that emissions of volatile organic compounds must be no more than 20g of solvent per kilogram of clothing or other material cleaned and dried. Volatile organic compounds, mixed with other gases in the atmosphere in strong sunlight, can produce ozone. This pollutant causes breathing difficulties.

The cost for a new application is £148.

Eligibility criteria

Only a person who has control over the operation of a regulated facility may obtain or hold an environmental permit. This person is the "operator". A permit application may be made by an agent on behalf of the operator.

Regulation summary

The Solvent Emissions Directive directs all dry cleaners to apply for a permit from their Local Authority under the provisions of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010.

The permit, with conditions designed to both demonstrate compliance with the emission limit imposed by the Directive and to ensure best practice to minimise solvent use, will then be issued by the authority. The conditions will be based on Government Guidance - Process Guidance Note 6/46(04) Secretary of State's Guidance for Dry Cleaning.

Will tacit consent apply?

No. It is illegal to operate a permitted process without a permit being issued. A permit must be obtained before you start to operate the dry cleaning business. The local authority can take up to 60 days to process an application so you need ensure that you allow enough time to obtain your permit before you start operating.

How to apply

EUGO - Part of the EUGO network

Apply online

Apply online for a permit to operate a dry cleaning process

Apply by post or in person

You may download our application form here and apply by post or in person at the address below.

Application for a permit to operate a dry cleaning process(pdf, 65KB).

Further information

You can obtain further guidance from the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). There are versions in Greek, Turkish, Gujarati and Urdu.

Contact Commercial Environmental Health

If you have any questions or would like any advice, please contact us:

Consumer Protection

2nd Floor
Civic Centre
44 York Street
Twickenham
TW1 3BZ

Telephone: 020 8891 7994
Email: commercialeh@richmond.gov.uk
Fax: 020 8891 7713

We are open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

Updated: 21 March 2014