About the EU ETS, operators and activities included in EU ETS, small emitters and exempt aircraft operators.
The EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) is the largest greenhouse gas emissions trading system in the world covering many different business sectors. These include oil refineries, offshore platforms and industries that produce iron and steel, cement and lime, paper, glass, ceramics and chemicals.
Other organisations, like universities and hospitals, may also be covered by the EU ETS depending upon the combustion capacity at their sites.
EU ETS was extended to aviation operators in January 2010 to cover carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from flights leaving from or arriving at EU airports. In January 2011 flights to and from the European Economic Area (EEA) states of Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein were also included.
The EU ETS operates in phases. Phases 1 and 2 have ended and we are currently in phase 3 that runs from 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2020.
In the UK, EU ETS for installations is regulated by:
- Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) Oil and Gas
- Environment Agency
- Natural Resources Wales (NRW)
- Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA)
- Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)
EU ETS for aviation is regulated by:
- Environment Agency
EU ETS for installations: activities included
EU ETS phase 3 applies to you if you carry out any of the activities listed in Annex I to the EU ETS Directive.
The EU guidance on Interpretation of Annex 1 of the EU ETS Directive (excluding aviation activities) provides further detail on the specific installation activities included.
If your installation was included in EU ETS in phase 2 and continues to carry out a regulated activity, it will be included in phase 3.
If EU ETS does apply to you, you must apply for a greenhouse gas permit before you start to carry out your regulated activities.
Small emitter and hospital opt-out scheme
The small emitter and hospital opt-out scheme is a new UK scheme that allows eligible installations to be excluded from some of the EU ETS obligations during phase 3.
During 2012, installation operators applied to the government to join this scheme. The government granted or converted ‘excluded’ installations permits on 1 January 2013 to those operators whose applications were successful.
You can no longer apply to become an excluded operator under the Small emitters and hospital opt-out scheme for the remainder of phase 3 of EU ETS.
Installations: further guidance
If you still aren’t sure if EU ETS applies to you the guidance documents below provide more help:
EU ETS Regulatory guidance for installations. This guidance describes the main provisions of the Regulations and how they and relevant European Union legislation should be applied and interpreted.
Or contact your regulator’s help desk:
For the Environment Agency email email@example.com.
For NRW email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For NIEA email email@example.com.
For SEPA email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Commission website has guidance for phase 3 of EU ETS.
EU ETS for aviation: activities included
Regulation (EU) No. 421/2014, which amends the scope of the EU ETS Directive for aviation came into force on 30 April 2014. This Regulation and a related FAQ can be found on the Commission website. The transposition of this Regulation into UK law will be consulted on by DECC; starting later in August 2014.
EU ETS phase 3 applies to you if you are a ‘UK administered operator’ carrying out an aviation activity listed in Annex 1 to the EU ETS Directive and perform flights other than those that are excluded. Flights that are excluded are identified in Article 28a (1), Regulation (EU) No. 421/2014. This means you are classed as a UK aircraft operator under EU ETS.
If you are a UK administered operator, but don’t carry out an Annex 1 activity, or only carry out an Annex 1 activity excluded from reporting, you must notify your regulator.
If EU ETS does apply to you, you must notify your regulator and apply for an emissions plan.
Check if EU ETS for aviation applies to you:
1. Look at the Commission list to see if you are listed as a UK administered operator.
Each year, the European Commission (EC) publishes a list of operators that have carried out an aviation activity listed in Annex 1. It also lists their administering EU Member State.
If you aren’t on this list but think you should be, you need to contact the EC. The EC website provides more information.
If you think you should be administered by the UK, contact your regulator.
2. Check if you are carrying out an aviation activity listed in Annex 1 to the EU ETS Directive.
If you are on the list but haven’t carried out (and don’t intend to carry out), an Annex 1 activity you must tell your regulator within 12 weeks of the list’s publication date. As part of informing your regulator you may request an exemption from EU ETS.
Annex 1 of the EU ETS Directive also includes some exempt activities that don’t have to comply with EU ETS.
If all your aviation activities are covered by the exemptions in Annex 1, you should contact your regulator and provide evidence that your flights are exempt. You do this using the emissions plan application on Emissions Trading Scheme Workflow Automation Project (ETSWAP).
Your regulator will review your evidence alongside data provided by Eurocontrol. They will then write to you to confirm whether or not you are exempt from EU ETS.
3. If you are carrying out an aviation activity listed in Annex 1 to the EU ETS Directive, check if you are carrying only flights that are excluded.
If you are on the list and have carried out an Annex 1 activity but are only expected to perform flights that are excluded, you must notify your regulator within 12 weeks of the list’s publication date.
When you contact your regulator, you need to state that you only expect to carry out flights that are excluded. An excluded flight is a flight departing from, or arriving in, an aerodrome situated in any country other than an EEA state or Croatia. In making the notification you are stating that you do not expect to perform any flights that are included within the 4 month period following the 12 weeks after the publication of the list. You must submit a notification using the emissions plan application on ETSWAP.
4. If you are carrying out an aviation activity listed in Annex 1 to the EU ETS Directive, check if you are carrying flights that are included.
This rule applies regardless of where you are based.
If you are on the list, have carried out an Annex 1 activity and have performed a flight that is included, EU ETS does apply to you. You must contact your regulator and apply for an aviation emission plan within 12 weeks of the publication date of the Commission list.
Aviation small emitters
An aviation small emitter is:
- an operator who carries out fewer than 243 flights per period, for 3 consecutive 4-month periods (January to April; May to August; September to December) or
- an operator whose flights emit less than 25,000 tonnes of (CO2) per year in total
These thresholds are based on the full scope of EU ETS as defined in Annex 1 of the EU ETS Directive.
If you are a small emitter, you can use a simplified monitoring approach using an EC approved tool to estimate your fuel consumption, for example, Eurocontrol’s small emitter’s tool.
You must check you are using the most up to date version of the approved Eurocontrol small emitters tool.
You can also use annual emissions reports generated from Eurocontrol’s ETS support facility to compile your emissions report.
However, you must check that the data you report is complete and correct.
You notify your regulator that you are a small emitter through your application for your emissions plan.
Where an operator emits less than 25,000 tonnes of (CO2) per year, the operator may determine and report their emissions using data from Eurocontrol’s ETS support facility without having the report verified by an independent verifier.
EU ETS Aviation: further help and guidance
If you aren’t sure whether EU ETS for aviation applies to you read EU ETS Phase III: Guidance for aircraft operators administered by the UK.
Or contact your regulator:
For the Environment Agency, email email@example.com.
For NRW, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For NIEA email email@example.com.
For SEPA, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Commission website has guidance for EU ETS aviation.
Published: 23 April 2014
Updated: 6 August 2014
- Updates from section 'EU ETS for aviation: activities included' onwards.
- First published.