European Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Bureau
Institute for Prospective Technological Studies
For each of the industrial sectors covered by the Directive, the exchange of information results in the elaboration of a BAT reference document (BREF). BREFs are to be taken into account when the competent authorities of Member States determine emission limit values (ELVs) and other conditions for IPPC permits. The BREFs inform the relevant decision makers about what may be technically available and economically feasible to industry in order to improve their environmental performance and consequently improve the whole environment. The elaboration of BREFs at EU level is considered to be an efficient exercise because in their absence, each Member State would have to conduct a similar exercise.
BAT is a dynamic concept because new techniques may emerge, technologies are still developing, or new environmental processes are being successfully introduced in industry. Since the elements of BAT change over time, BREFs have to be reviewed and updated as appropriate.
Each final draft BREF is presented by the European IPPC Bureau to DG Environment at an IEF meeting. The BREFs are formally adopted by the Commission. Notices of their adoption are published in the Official Journal of the European Union.
The expertise of the European IPPC Bureau is also requested in support of other policy areas such as the revision of the IPPC Directive and to elaborate BREFs for non-IPPC installations e.g. for mining activities.
Currently, there are 32 reference documents covering IPPC sectors addressed by the Directive and one BREF for a non-IPPC sector (mining activities). In 2005, the process to review these BREFs started. In 2009, the review process of two BREFs will be finished and the review process for a further 12 BREFs will be ongoing.
DG Environment is the primary internal customer for this action; DG Enterprise has a strong association with the work due to the representation of industry in the process. For certain BREFs, other DGs such as Energy and Transport (DG TREN) and Health and Consumer Protection (DG SANCO) have actively participated in TWGs. The information exchange includes liaison that is relevant to these or other DGs bearing in mind that the final BREFs are subject to Inter Service Consultation (ISC) prior to adoption by the Commission.