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The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the European Commission's science and knowledge service which employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policy.
The European Commission has published this week the new "Best Available Techniques" (BAT) conclusions, which is the reference for setting permit conditions for the production of cement, lime and magnesium oxide in the EU.
These conclusions, produced by the JRC's European Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Bureau (EIPPCB), address the most effective techniques available for production in these three sectors to achieve a high level of protection of the environment under economically and technically viable conditions. The best available techniques enshrined cover both the technology used and the way in which the installation is designed, built, maintained, operated and decommissioned. BAT conclusions are the reference for setting the permit conditions for these installations in Europe under the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) 2010/75/EU, which regulates emissions to air, water and soil of about 50 000 industrial installations across the EU.
Among other topics, these conclusions cover the implementation of environmental management systems, the monitoring and management of emissions to air, water and soil for each of the sectors studied – cement, lime, and magnesium oxide. Other aspects such as noise, use of resources and energy, process losses/waste issues are also analysed and best environmental practices are determined.
The European Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Bureau (EIPPCB), managed by the JRC's Institute for Prospective and Technological Studies (IPTS), led the scientific work to determine the best available techniques and achieve stakeholder consensus. The European IPPC Bureau is in charge of setting up and steering the works of the Technical Working Groups to draft the BAT reference documents (BREFs), which include the BAT conclusions, together with background information on the sector concerned and techniques applied, as well as information on emerging techniques that have the potential to become BAT in the future.
The process to develop a BREF includes a thorough, detailed and transparent exchange of techno-economic information between the Member States, the industries concerned, the environmental non-governmental organisations and the European Commission, i.e. the stakeholders.
The European IPPC Bureau was established within the JRC in 1997 within the context of the implementation of the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) Directive, substituted by the IED in 2010. In 2012, the first two BAT conclusions under the new IED framework, for the iron and steel and glass sectors, were adopted. Earlier this year, BAT conclusions for the tanning of hides and skins were adopted. In 2014, another set of three conclusions is foreseen in important sectors such as chlor-alkali, refining of mineral oil and gas, and pulp and paper.