New Directive targets further cuts in industrial emissions

New Directive targets further cuts in industrial emissions

New legislation will strengthen and simplify existing rules while reducing emissions further throughout the EU. It will cut costs and contribute to future sustainability of EU industry.

The Commission industrial pollution proposal will bring marked health and environmental benefits and create a better level playing field, reducing competition distortions between companies. It will simplify current legislation by merging seven directives into one, significantly cutting the administrative burden for industry and public authorities. And it will strengthen application of best available techniques (BATs) across the EU.

 “Industrial emissions in the EU remain too high and are having detrimental effects on human health and the environment,” says Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas. “Clearer and stricter rules are needed to ensure industrial installations comply with the necessary high environmental standards across the EU."

The new directive will tackle shortcomings in current legislation. Seven overlapping directives cover similar activities with approximately 52 000 installations falling under the scope of the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) Directive  alone. The main intention is to increase use of BATs, an obligation to ensure industrial operators use the most cost-effective techniques to achieve a high level of environmental protection.

Weaknesses in existing legislation to prevent and control emissions to air, water and soil from industrial installations across the EU have meant there has not been the level of application of BATs required. Compliance and enforcement in Member States is also inconsistent – only around half of the installations concerned have received a permit – and the complex legal framework carries unnecessary costs for industry.

The proposed directive should reduce administrative costs for authorities and operators by between €105 and €255 million a year, thus contributing to the future sustainability of EU industry.

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