New EU industrial emissions legislation


Courtesy of European Commission, Environment DG

Proposal for the revision of industrial emissions legislation in the EU (Questions & Answers)

The Commission's proposal focuses on four key problems identified during a two-year review process when data was collected through an extensive programme with ten studies and continuous consultation with stakeholders.

Firstly, the Commission proposes to overhaul seven existing pieces of legislation on industrial emissions, moulding them into a single directive. This directive improves the clarity and coherence of the legislation and reduces the administrative burden through combined requirements on granting permits and streamlined reporting.

Secondly, the new directive improves and clarifies the concept of Best Available Techniques. Decisions that set permit conditions outside BATs can only be taken in specific cases and need to be justified and documented. This will lead to a more coherent and EU-wide application of Best Available Techniques. In addition, the directive tightens current minimum emission limit values for large combustion plants to ensure that emission reductions needed for achieving
the objectives of the Commission's Thematic Strategy on Air Pollution are carried out.

Thirdly, the proposal introduces minimum provisions on environmental inspections of installations, the review of permit granting conditions, and reporting of compliance and soil protection. Incentives for the development and promotion of
environmentally-friendly technologies are also included.

Finally, the scope of the legislation is extended to include additional activities such as combustion plants of between 20 and 50 MegaWatts (MW), production of wood-based panels and preservation of wood. The Commission proposal also clarifies the scope of certain activities already covered by existing legislation, such as waste treatment and food production.

Although it is not included in the legislative proposal, the Commission will continue to work on developing possible EU-wide rules on emissions trading for NOx and SO2, thus building on experience gained through the implementation of the EU's carbon trading scheme.

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