Overview of EU environmental legislation
F. Industrial Pollution Control and Risk Management
These directives and regulations cover three areas: control of industrial
emissions, control of major accident hazards, and environmental audits and
The first area includes directives which establish requirements for
permits for the operation of certain industrial facilities so as to control
releases to air and water and wastes. The directives include the Integrated
Pollution Prevention and Control Directive 96/61/EEC (IPPC), the Emissions from
Large Combustion Plants Directive 88/609/EEC covers emissions of sulphur
dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulates and establishes targets for the
reduction of total emissions from each Member State, and the Air Pollution from
Industrial Plants Directive 84/360/EEC a framework directive which will
be replaced by the much broader IPPC Directive in 2007.
The second area covers the Seveso Directive 96/82/EC, named after a
town in Italy that was the site of a major accidental release of toxic gas. This
directive, which has been a model for similar legislation outside of Europe,
requires industrial plan operators to identify major accident hazards and take
steps to control them and to limit their effects. It will replace the previous
Directive 82/501/EEC in 1999.
The third area covers the regulations on Eco-management and Audit Scheme
EMAS 1836/93/EEC and on eco-label 880/92/EEC. The EMAS Regulation
encourages the voluntary participation of industrial plants in the development
of internal environmental management systems and audit programmes as a means to
improve their environmental performance. The eco-label Regulation establishes an
EU eco-label award scheme which is intended to promote the design, production,
marketing and use of products with a reduced environmental impact during their
entire life cycle. The eco-label gives consumers information about the
environmental impacts of products.
F.1 Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control
The goal of the directive is to achieve integrated prevention and control of
pollution arising from a wide range of activities by means of measures to
prevent or, where that is not practicable, to reduce emissions from industrial
facilities to air, water and land, including measures concerning waste, in order
to achieve a high level of protection of the environment as a whole.
All activities covered by the Directive require a permit. Member States may
issue a single permit for releases to air, water and waste from an industrial
facility, or issue multiple permits which are integrated through a co-operation
procedure involving several permitting authorities. As well as imposing emission
limits in environmental permits, Member States must ensure that the permits
contain measures designed to ensure that following basic requirements are met:
all appropriate preventive measures are taken against pollution, in
particular though the application Best Available Techniques (BAT)
no significant pollution is caused
waste production is avoided; where waste is produced it should be recovered
or, where that is technically and economically impossible, disposed of while
avoiding or reducing any impact on the environment
energy is used efficiently
the necessary measures are taken to prevent accidents and limit their
the necessary measures are taken upon definite cessation of activities to
avoid any pollution risk and return the site of operation to a satisfactory
Permits must in particular include emission limit values based on BAT,
taking into consideration the potential for transfer of pollution from one
medium to another. Other requirements to protect soil and groundwater and
concerning waste management must be laid down if necessary. In addition, permits
must contain the supplementary requirements necessary to prevent breaches of
any environmental quality standard.
These requirements apply to new installations from October 1999 and to
existing installations from October 2007.
Authorities must reconsider periodically and when necessary update permit
An inventory of the principal emissions and sources will be published by the
Commission on the basis of data supplied by Member States.
- Identify sites within the scope of the directive.
- The IPPC Directive presupposes that countries have developed administrative
institutions to issue environmental permits for industrial operations and
scientific knowledge to administer and control regimes for the environmental
management of a number of industrial sectors.
- In evaluating implementation needs, compare the IPPC permit requirements
and processes to existing national laws on environmental permitting in relation
to environmental quality and emission standards.
- As the administrative knowledge and capacity needed to implement the
directive will be considerable, give consideration to ways of phasing in the EU
requirements according to the availability of the capacity for implementation.
- A good starting point is to evaluate the capacity of the existing
administration to carry out the responsibilities laid down by the directive,
including pollution prevention, waste avoidance, recovery and safe disposal,
efficient energy use, accident prevention and de-commissioning guidelines
procedures and standards.
- Industry representatives from the energy, metal production and processing
minerals, chemicals, waste management and other interested sectors should be
consulted on implementation so as to smooth the way to full compliance with the
- Permits may be issued at national, regional or local level. For small and
medium enterprises it may be appropriate to pass the permitting on to local
government whilst reserving permits for large-scale plants to regional or
- Competent authorities must define the permits based on evaluations of the
design of the entire plant rather than end-of-pipe standards.
- Competent authorities must ensure that all permits contain requirements for
protecting land, air and water from environmental damage. This should involve a
detailed account of how to identify and monitor air emissions.
- The implementing states should define penalties for failure to co-operate
with the competent authorities and inspectors, as well as for breaches of permit
requirements. It may be appropriate to require financial bonds from industrial
operators to cover decommissioning costs.
- Public participation and the dissemination of public information are vital
components of the directive. One means of making permitting information
available is by posting a register of decisions and permits in relevant
government offices and libraries. Linkages should be made between these
requirements and the implementation of the Access to Environmental Information
- Governments should consider how to phase in the requirements under the
Directive on Air pollution from industrial plants and the Directive on
discharges of Dangerous substances to water into the permits issued under the
IPPC Directive over the eleven years after the IPPC directive comes into force (
30 October 1996).
IPPC Directive Implementation considerations
National Legislative Framework
- Compare directive's requirements to existing national laws.
- Identify legislative gaps.
Competent Authorities (CAs)
- National level CA must ensure consistency of permit standards for all
media, Best Available Techniques for industrial sectors.
- Procedures and criteria for evaluation of permit applications, guidelines
for industrial sectors and permitting authorities should be developed
- Identification of sites under the directive.
- Pay special attention to definition of best available techniques
- Understand compliance requirements under these existing sectoral directives
pending and also after full implementation of IPPC Directive
- Establish sanctions for damage to health and environment.
The Permitting Process
- Implement the IPPC permit procedure requirements for all new installations.
- Apply an 'integrated' approach to the grant of authorisations to
- Be aware of any changes in the activities of sites with permits.
- Develop standard comprehensive information form for permit applicants.
- Consider possible relationship between environmental impact assessment and
- Ensure that prior to the granting of a permit, stakeholders and the public
are informed and are given an opportunity to participate in decision-making
- CAs should provide information to the public concerning the industrial
activity and its potential human health and environmental effects.
- Government sets up CA and administrative support, provides information to
stakeholders and the public.
- Permit applicants to pay administrative costs for the permit.
Examples of the Allocation of Responsibilities for
||Monitor & Inspect
||Prefect (Regional office of the Central Government
||Environmental Inspectorate, Water Police
||Regional Authority (Lander)
||Regional or Local Authority
||Regional or Local Authority
||Regional or Local Authority
F.2 Air Pollution from Industrial Plants
Directive 84/360/EEC on the combating of air pollution from industrial
plants is a framework directive, which will be replaced by the IPPC Directive in
2007 (See above). Member States must ensure that the types of industrial plants
listed in Annex I obtain prior authorisation from the designated national or
regional competent authority before beginning operation or before any
substantial alteration to the plant. Industrial plants serving national defence
purposes are exempt from the directive.
An authorisation may only be issued when the competent authority is
satisfied that: all appropriate measures against air pollution have been taken,
including the application of Best available technology not entailing excessive
cost (BATNEEC); the use of the plant will not cause significant air pollution,
particularly of the substances listed in Annex II of the Directive; none of the
applicable emission limit values is exceeded; and all applicable air quality
limit values are taken into account.
Applications for authorisations and the decisions of the competent
authorities must be made available to the public and to other concerned Member
States within the framework of their bilateral relations.
Member States must monitor emissions from industrial plants impose
conditions on them, taking into account the economic situation of the plants.
They must adopt policies to ensure that existing plants covered by Annex I are
gradually adapted to the best available technology. They may adopt stricter
- Government authorities will need a continuous effort to collect data
regarding emissions from authorised installations, environmental quality data
and BATNEEC for different industrial sectors and production processes.
- Consider how to manage the transition from the permitting requirements of
this directive to the IPPC directive.
- Consider how to define and update guidance on BATNEEC across different
industrial sectors and activities: advice may be provided by the European
Commission and by the Member States.
F.3 Large Combustion Plants
Directive 88/609/EEC on the limitation of emissions of certain pollutants
into the air from large combustion plants was the first directive to be adopted
under the framework Directive 84/360/EEC on the combating of air pollution from
industrial plants. It applies to combustion plants for the production of energy
with a thermal input of 50 Megawatts (MW) or more. The goal is to reduce
emissions of SO2 , NOx and dust from these large combustion plants.This is to be
accomplished by means of a combination of provisons concerning global emissions
from existing plants and strict emission limits on new plants.
For existing plants, national ceilings for SO2 and NOx are set according to
gradual steps (1993, 1998, 2003).
Member States had to draw up programmes for the phased reduction of total
annual emissions of SO2 and NOx from existing plants, i.e plants whose original
operating licence was granted before 1 July 1987.
For new plants, or plants whose capacity have been extended by 50 MW or
more, licences for the construction or operation must contain conditions for
compliance with emission limit values for SO2 , NOx and dust and appropriate
conditions for discharge of waste gases. Member States may impose tighter
If a new plant is likely to have significant effects on the environment in
another Member State, the Member State must ensure that the other Member State
is consulted appropriately under Directive 85/337/EEC on the assessment of the
effects of certain public and private projects on the environment (See Section A
- Countries will need to determine total annual emissions from new as well as
existing plants. This will include reporting by operators of combustion plants
and scientific institutions working on behalf of the governments.
- National emission reduction targets will have to be agreed with the
European Union, and programmes have to be developed for reducing annual
emissions from existing major combustion plants to achieve the national emission
reduction targets. Those programmes need to be developed in close co-operation
with the operators of the plans concerned.
- Options for reducing emissions must be identified and reviewed. These might
include fuel switching, energy conservation, energy saving measures and
pollution abatement technologies. Careful analysis of financing limitations and
opportunities will be important.
- All licences for new plants (or extensions exceeding 50MW) have to
requirements, including emission limit values for SO2 , NOx and dust,
requirements concerning measurement methods and equipment and requirements on
what to do in case of failure of control devices, etc. Existing authorisations
need to be reviewed in this regard.
F. 4 Proposed Directive on VOC emissions from industry
A proposal for a Directive on limitation of emissions of volatile organic
compounds due to the use of organic solvent in certain industrial activities,
COM(96) 538 - final, is currently before the Council and the European
The objective of the Proposal is to reduce the emissions of VOCs from
stationary sources and, hence, to reduce tropospheric ozone. The Proposal aims
at an emission cut of at least 50 % (by 2010, compared to 1990 levels) for some
20 main types of solvent-using activities. For each of these industrial
sectors, it defines emission reduction targets by means of emission limit values
to be achieved either by appropriate abatement technologies or by substitution
solutions (low-solvent or solvent free technologies). Member States have the
option to design and implement an alternative national plan achieving the same
- Identify sites within the scope of the Directive
- Countries need to establish monitoring and enforcement systems for meeting
the emission limitations.
- Countries must identify the installations which will need to be
authorised, and those which will be registered.
- When considering whether to use the option of a national plan, Member
States should carefully assess the need for technical and industrial knowledge
and administrative capacity in order to design and implement the plan , which is
likely to be considerable.
- Prior consultation with industry and other interested groups is advised.
F.5 'Seveso' Directive on the Control of Major-Accident Hazards
In 1999, Directive 96/82/EEC on the control of major-accident hazards
involving dangerous substances will replace the old 'Seveso' Directive
82/501/EEC, which was developed following the 1976 accident in Italy. The 1982
Directive contained a set of obligations for industrial plant operators as well
as national authorities and the European Commission aimed at identifying and
controlling the risks of major accidents from industrial installations. The new
'Seveso II' Directive has a broadened and simplified scope and strengthens the
safety management and the emergency planning requirements imposed on operators
of certain industrial plants. Provisions on inspection and control by competent
authorities are reinforced and a new provision has been introduced, obliging the
responsible authorities to take account of the objectives of the Directive in
their land-use planning.
Whether an establishment falls within the scope of the Seveso II Directive
will be solely determined by the presence of specified dangerous substances in
sufficiently large quantities to create a major accident hazard. Installations
covered by this Directive and located close to each another have to co-operate
in averting risks and preventing domino effects such as a fire at one
installation spreading to others.
In order to improve safety and reduce the risk of human error, operators of
industrial installations concerned will have to develop a policy for major
accident prevention as well as a safety management system. The operator must
prepare a safety report and an internal emergency plan. The national competent
authorities must prepare an external emergency plan, co-operating across borders
where this is necessary to prevent or respond to major accidents..
Member States must prohibit the use of industrial installations where the
prevention and mitigation measures taken by the operator are seriously deficient
or where the operator does not submit the required information to the competent
authority within a reasonable period of time. Public access to information is
strengthened. A system of inspections must be organised by the competent
- Administrative knowledge and capacity needed to implement the new Directive
are considerable. As a first step, competent authorities need to be identified
at national and at local level.
- Procedures need to be put in place to ensure that all existing and new
installations with major-accident hazards potential have taken the measures
needed to prevent major accidents and limit their consequences. This requires
the establishment of a registration system for notifications and the ability to
assess the safety reports submitted.
- Local authorities are responsible for drawing up external emergency plans.
The development of these emergency plans requires as a basis the internal
emergency plan to be supplied by the operator containing information on the
establishment and the specific arrangements for emergencies. Persons liable to
be affected by a major accident need to be informed. Both, internal and external
emergency plans need to be practically tested and reviewed. In case of an
accident, interventions need to be co-ordinated.
- Collecting and disseminating information on accidents and near-misses is
essential to allow to improve prevention methods and emergency response
procedures. Procedures for the collection, exchange and dissemination of
information need to be defined and established.
- Competent authorities need to set up a programme of inspections based upon
either a systematic appraisal of major-accident hazards of the establishments
concerned or one on-site-inspection per year.
F.5 Eco-management and Audit Scheme (EMAS)
Regulation 1836/93/EEC sets up a voluntary eco-management and audit scheme
for participating industrial companies which seeks to reward and promote better
environmental performance of industrial activities. The scheme requires
participating sites to:
establish and implement policies, programmes and management systems
audit the performance of their site; and,
provide environmental performance reports to the public.
It applies to manufacturing, energy and recycling industry sites and may be
extended to other sites on an experimental basis. Participants must take the
adopt an environmental policy - it should include compliance with regulatory
instruments, continued improvement in environmental performance, and the
reduction of environmental impacts
conduct an environmental review of the site
introduce an environmental programme and environmental management system
carry out an environmental audit within a maximum cycle of three years;
prepare a publicly available environmental statement including in particular
details of site-based environmental impacts.
conduct an independent verification of the environmental statement through
independent verifiers accredited under the national accreditation systems.
National or international environmental management and audit systems other
than the EMAS may be considered as equivalent if they are identified in the Official
Journal of the European Community.
Although regulations may not be transposed into national law, countries do
need to take certain administrative steps to give them effect on the date of
entry into the European Union:
- Establish a system for the accreditation and supervision of accredited
environmental verifiers. The setting up and direction of the
accreditation systems requires the consultation of the parties involved.
- Send an updated list of accredited environmental verifiers every 6 months
to the Commission.
- Acceding countries may, as an option, apply provisions analogous to the
Eco-Management and Audit scheme (ISO 14001 or a national environmental
management and audit scheme) prior to joining the European Union.
- The EMAS Regulation requires Member States to set up competent bodies which
are in charge of the registration of sites and of communicating the list of
the registered sites to the Commission. The composition of these bodies is
required to be such that it guarantees their independence and neutrality.
Regulation 880/92/EEC on a EU eco-label award scheme seeks to promote the
design, production, marketing and use of products which have reduced
environmental impacts during their life cycles. The regulation also seeks to
provide consumers with better information on the environmental impact of
products. It does not apply to food, drink or pharmaceuticals, dangerous
substances under Directives 67/548/EEC or 88/379/EEC, or to products
manufactured using processes which are likely to cause significant harm to man
or the environment.
Conditions for the awards for each product group are to be determined by a
Committee of Member State representatives after a consultation process involving
interested groups from industry, commerce, consumer and environmental
organisations. Product group eco-label criteria last three years and are
determined according to life cycle assessments of product groups based on the
maintenance of a high level of environmental protection.
So far, eco-label criteria have been determined for: Dishwashers, Soil
improvers, Toilet paper, Paper kitchen rolls, Laundry detergents, Single-ended
light bulbs, Indoor paints and varnishes, Bed-linen and T-shirts, Double-ended
light bulbs, Washing machines, Copying paper, and Refrigerators.
Further information is available on the Eco-label
- Although regulations may not be transposed into national law, Member States
will need to designate a competent body, whose composition is to guarantee its
independence and neutrality, to receive the eco-label applications, assess the
environmental performance of the product in relation to specified criteria, and
decide on the award of the eco-label.
- Ensure that consumers and undertakings are informed about the eco-label
- In order for the eco-label scheme to be successful, it needs to be known
by the consumer and supported by industry or retailers. Consultation and
information campaigns in support of the scheme are almost a prerequisite for its