Tough new regulations on industrial emissions

On 8 November 2010 the Council of the European Union approved the Industrial Emissions Directive which was passed in July by the European Parliament. The directive replaces seven different EU legal acts now in force.

The new Industrial Emissions Directive establishes rules for monitoring of the principal types of industrial activity in order to prevent industrial pollution.

As stated in the preamble to the Industrial Emissions Directive, “Large combustion plants contribute greatly to emissions of polluting substances into the air resulting in a significant impact on human health and the environment. In order to reduce that impact … it is necessary to set more stringent emission limit values at Union level for certain categories of combustion plants and pollutants.”

The new directive generally incorporates rules favourable for Poland with respect to grace periods for cogeneration plants, and more permissive limits on industrial emissions for major power plants.

The Industrial Emissions Directive introduces a series of changes designed to cut unnecessary financial and administrative burdens. The directive also provides incentives for member states to introduce integrated permits for installations subject to several regulatory schemes, and simplifies the monitoring and reporting requirements, representing a step in the direction of a unified reporting system and electronic reporting on industrial emissions.

When the new directive becomes effective, the following EU acts will be repealed:

  • Council Directive 78/176/EECof 20 February 1978 on waste from the titanium dioxide industry
  • Council Directive 82/883/EEC of 3 December 1982 on procedures for the surveillance and monitoring of environments concerned by waste from the titanium dioxide industry
  • Council Directive 92/112/EEC of 15 December 1992 on procedures for harmonising the programmes for the reduction and eventual elimination of pollution caused by waste from the titanium dioxide industry
  • Council Directive 96/61/EC of 24 September 1996 concerning integrated pollution prevention and control
  • Council Directive 1999/13/EC of 11 March 1999 on the limitation of emissions of volatile organic compounds due to the use of organic solvents in certain activities and installations
  • Directive 2000/76/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 December 2000 on the incineration of waste
  • Directive 2001/80/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2001 on the limitation of emissions of certain pollutants into the air from large combustion plants

The Industrial Emissions Directive goes into effect 20 days after publication in the EU Official Journal, which is planned for the end of 2010. Member states will then have two years to implement the directive.