20 Feb 2013

New pollution prevention and control requirements for tanneries

Some belts at a local market
Best available techniques (BAT) conclusions on industrial emissions for the tanning of hides and skins have been adopted
© Philip MacKenzie (stock.xchng), 2011

The European Commission has recently adopted a new implementing decision establishing the best available techniques (BAT) conclusions on industrial emissions for the tanning of hides and skins. These conclusions define the reference for setting the permit conditions for these installations in Europe under the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) 2010/75/EU. The IED currently regulates emissions to air, water and soil of about 50 000 industrial installations across the EU.

With the clear goal to improve the overall environmental performance of tanneries, these BAT conclusions cover, among many other topics, the implementation of environmental management systems; the appliance of good housekeeping principles, such as the selection and control of substances and raw materials; the consumption of water; the monitoring and management of emissions to water (in particular emissions of organic matter, suspended solids, ammonia, chromium and sulphide) and to air (in particular emissions of volatile organic compounds) and aspects such as odour, waste and energy.

The JRC-managed European Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Bureau (EIPPCB) has led the scientific work to determine the best available techniques. The 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 in 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.

BAT conclusions for the cement, lime and magnesium oxide industries are expected to be adopted soon this year. 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.

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