European parliament and Council / 15.01.2008 / as set by previous Directive 96/61 (30 October 1999 for new installations and existing ones which are subject to “substantial changes”; 30 October 2007 for other existing installations)
European Union Directive, to be implemented by all Member States by transposition of the legislation and enforcement with their means
The purpose of the IPPC Directive is to prevent or at least reduce pollution from installations with a high impact potential due to their type of activities and to their scale (i.e. mainly medium to large industrial enterprises).
If their activities fall under the Directive enterprises must submit an application with data more detailed than for other authorizations in order to obtain an environmental permit from the authorities in the EU Member States. These permits take into account the global environmental performance (integrated approach) covering e.g. emissions to air, water and land, generation of waste, use of raw materials and energy, prevention of accidents, and restoration of the site upon closure. The permit must also take into consideration Best Available Techniques (BAT). BATs, meaning the most effective alternatives in achieving a high general level of protection for the environment as a whole, should be considered also for setting emission limit values that companies should comply with.
The Directive applies to the following categories of activities, mentioned in Annex I, which are generally known to have high pollution potential:
(In Annex I other activities are production of pulp, paper and cardboard, pre-treatment or dyeing of fibers/textiles, tanning of hides and skins, slaughterhouses, treatment and processing for the production of food from animal/vegetable raw materials (other than milk), disposal or recycling of animal carcases and animal, intensive rearing of poultry or pigs, surface treatment of substances, objects or products using organic solvents, production of carbon (hard-burnt coal) or electrographite by incineration /graphitization)
In 2007 a proposal has been made by the EU Commission for Environment to merge into a single legal text seven separate Directives relating to industrial emissions, including the IPPC Directive. Decision on this proposal has not been taken yet.
Article 6 states what information should be included in the applications for permits. Point j) of the article requires that applications include a description of ‘the main alternatives, if any’.
ANNEX IV presents the considerations to be taken into account when determining best available techniques and mentions at point 2) the use of ‘less hazardous substances’.
Member States shall take the necessary measures to ensure that installations are operated in such a way that all the appropriate preventive measures are taken against pollution, in particular through application of the best available techniques, which as stated by the Directive, may include the use of less hazardous substances.
Enterprises would have to comply with the BATs for their activity as stated in their authorization. Substitution may be included as a measure in the IPPC authorization, if the local authority considers it necessary for the environment and feasible for the company.
If other type of measures (like air filtering or water treatment need to achieve and maintain low emission level of pollutants as prescribed by BATs) have high costs the enterprise may consider substitution as a reasonable alternative solution.
Last update: 18.11.2010