Industrial production processes account for a considerable share of the overall pollution in Europe (for emissions of greenhouse gases and acidifying substances, wastewater emissions and waste). The EU has adopted in 1996 a set of common rules for permitting and controlling industrial installations in the IPPC Directive (Directive 96/61/EC). The IPPC Directive has recently been codified (Directive 2008/1/EC).
In essence, the IPPC Directive is about minimising pollution from various industrial sources throughout the European Union. Operators of industrial installations operating activities covered by Annex I of the IPPC Directive are required to obtain an environmental permit from the authorities in the EU countries. About 52.000 installations are covered by the IPPC Directive.
New installations, and existing installations which are subject to "substantial changes", have been required to meet the requirements of the IPPC Directive since 30 October 1999. Other existing installations had to be brought into compliance by 30 October 2007. This was the key deadline for the full implementation of the Directive.
The IPPC Directive is based on several principles, namely (1) an integrated approach, (2) best available techniques, (3) flexibility and (4) public participation.
(a) the technical characteristics of the installation,
(b) its geographical location and
(c) the local environmental conditions.
(a) permit applications in order to give opinions,
(c) results of the monitoring of releases and
(d) the European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (E-PRTR). In E-PRTR, emission data reported by Member States are made accessible in a public register, which is intended to provide environmental information on major industrial activities. E-PRTR has replaced the previous EU-wide pollutant inventory, the so-called European Pollutant Emission Register (EPER).
A short summary of the IPPC directive and amendments is also available at the Europa-site.