The Industrial Emissions Directive is a nationally enforced EU Directive that requires industrial process players to implement best practice in waste management. There are, however, exceptions to the directive. England’s Environmental Agency (EEA) has been charged with providing derogation in particular cases. To assist in this process, the EEA contracted Ricardo-AEA to develop a tool that would allow companies to identify whether they stand a chance of being granted an exemption.
Industrial Emissions Directive
Greenhouse gas emissions as well as dangerous acidifying substances, wastewater emissions and waste, pose a threat to the wellbeing of the ecosystem and its human inhabitants in Europe. In a bid to reduce the damage industrial processes do to the environment in which they are permitted to operate, the EU adopted the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) on industrial emissions. The Directive obligates certain industries to introduce Best Available Techniques (BAT) into their industrial process with reference to pollution creation. As a consequence of the continued update and deployment of best practice, the net positive effect on human life for the regulation of large combustion plants alone is already in the order of €7-28 billion per year. This includes the reduction of premature deaths and years of life lost by 13,000 and 125,000 respectively.
Not every industry need be bound by the Directive as it provides elements of flexibility to prohibit BAT being too onerous on companies, and generating disproportionately higher costs compared to the environmental benefits. The EEA is charged with determining if an industrial player is required to deploy BAT in their industrial process, or whether they can be exempted based on eligibility criteria supported by the Directive.
To reduce the burden on the Agency with identifying whether a company can apply for derogation, Ricardo-AEA was hired to develop a set of tools that allow companies to easily assess whether they need to comply fully with BAT or whether they are exempt due to their specific environmental or process context. The tool was developed with facilities in mind whose geographical, technical or environmental conditions would mean that their implementation of the BAT would cause them disproportionately higher costs than their competition. The results generated from the inputs to the tool, can be used to apply to the EEA for derogation, thereby reducing the demand on the EEA to check up on frivolous cases.
Commenting on the tool, Ben Grebot Technical Business Manager at Ricardo-AEA, says: “This tool will make the IED derogations process more transparent, helping businesses understand whether they have a case to make for exemptions. It will also reduce the English Environment Agency’s regulatory workload, while enabling more consistent decisions and providing the evidence needed to justify derogations to the European Commission. The training we have provided the Agency on how to use the tool has been well received and we are now looking forward to providing similar support to industry.”