Industrial Emissions Directive adopted

On 8 November the new Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) was formally adopted by the Council of Ministers. It updates and merges seven pieces of existing legislation on solvents, large combustion plants (LCPs), waste incineration, titanium dioxide production and integrated pollution prevention and control (IPPC). Around 52 000 installations are covered by this act, including power plants, metal production and chemical manufacturing facilities. The new directive will strengthen the application of Best Available Techniques (BAT) in the permitting process.

Fossil fuel fired combustion plants are still a major source of air pollutant emissions. The new directive sets stricter emission limits for NOx, SO2 and dust from the largest plants. According to the European Commission, the resulting benefits of emission reductions run to between €7 and €28 billion per year, including the prevention of 13 000 premature deaths per annum.

New plants must apply the stricter standards from 2012, while existing plants have to comply with these standards from 2016, but there are some significant derogations. Until 30 June 2020, member states may define transitional plans with declining annual emission caps. Moreover, installations that are already scheduled to close before the end of 2023 or operate less than 17 500 hours after 2016 may be exempt from upgrading.

The directive will enter into force 20 days after its publication in the Official Journal, which is expected before the end of 2010. Member states will then have two years to transpose the directive into their legislation and to start implementing the new legislation.

Source: European Commission press release 8 November 2010.

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