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30 May 2024

New Guidance to Support Distillers Will Help Boost Industry Growth

New Guidance to Support Distillers Will Help Boost Industry Growth
The SWA has released new guidance to support distillers applying for Hazardous Substances Consent, in collaboration with the Health & Safety Executive

New guidance has been released to support distillers to navigate the regulation surrounding planning and expansion of industry sites, the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) announced today.

The Guide to Applying for Hazardous Substances Consent was updated in collaboration with the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), building on the previous edition and compiled with input from government and planning officials. The guidance aims to streamline the process for distillery and warehouse owners looking to expand their production, build new warehousing or make any significant changes to their sites. Hazardous Substances Consent (HSC) is a vital step for any distiller to obtain before operations can commence. No guidance on applying has previously been compiled and made publicly available, meaning that many spirits producers – particularly new entrants to the market – faced often costly delays of up to two years due to a range of issues including incorrect or incomplete submissions.

Although written and released by the SWA, the new consolidated HSC Guidance is available and applicable to any spirits producer or contractor working with the industry. The SWA and the Health and Safety Executive will also be liaising with local authorities and those involved in approving Hazardous Substances Consent throughout Scotland to ensure that there is clarity on how the spirits industry operates and giving opportunity for technical questions to be answered. The guidance can also be referenced by distillers throughout the rest of the UK as they navigate the Hazardous Substances Consent process.

Mark Kent, Chief Executive of the SWA, said of the new guidance: “The development of this new guidance is a positive step for the Scotch Whisky industry, particularly as we see a post-war record of over 150 Scotch Whisky distilleries now in operation throughout Scotland. The continued expansion of our industry needs a robust foundation of regulatory support behind it, and we’re pleased to be collaborating with the HSE team to produce a guide which will support both distillers and local authority bodies right across the UK to navigate an often complex system and enact their plans for growth.”

Morag Garden, CEO of the English Whisky Guild said: “The introduction of the new guidance for Hazardous Substances Consent is a significant resource for the UK spirits industry. It arrives at a time when the English Whisky sector is experiencing growth, and the collaborative effort with Government and Regulators to produce this guidance is greatly appreciated. This support is essential as we continue to advance our industry and contribute to the UK’s economic vitality.”

Dr Jim Neilson, Head of HSE’s Major Hazard Risk Assessment Unit said “We welcomed the opportunity to work with the association on this guidance. Its publication will enable spirits producers or contractors working with the industry to make complete and timely applications for consent. This will help to ensure these applications are processed promptly and efficiently to published timescales. This will help the future growth of the sector.”

The full guidance can be downloaded from the Scotch Whisky Association website (link below)

The Guide to Applying for Hazardous Substances Consent (4mb) can be found here.

The guidance can be shared, printed or copied as necessary – please reference or credit the Scotch Whisky Association and Health and Safety Executive where it is used.

About the SWA

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) is the Scotch Whisky industry's representative body. Its  member companies, made up of distillers, blenders, owners of proprietary brands, brokers or exporters, together comprise around 97% of the industry's distilling and blending capacity. The SWA works to sustain Scotch Whisky’s place as the world’s premier whisky and consumers' spirit of choice.

About HSE

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. They are dedicated to protecting people and places and helping everyone lead safer and healthier lives. Their role goes beyond worker protection to include public assurance. They work to ensure people feel safe where they live, where they work and, in their environment.