Industrial emissions standards and best available techniques

How the Industrial Emissions Best Available Technique (BAT) regime works from the end of the transition period.

Industrial Emissions Directive (IED)

The EU’s Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) takes an integrated approach to controlling pollution to air, water and land, and sets challenging industry standards for the most polluting industries. The IED aims to prevent and reduce harmful industrial emissions, while promoting the use of techniques that reduce pollutant emissions and that are energy and resource efficient.

Larger industrial facilities undertaking specific types of activity are required to use BAT to reduce emissions to air, water and land.

BAT means the available techniques which are the best for preventing or minimising emissions and impacts on the environment. ‘Techniques’ include both the technology used and the way the installation is designed, built, maintained, operated and decommissioned.

BAT reference documents (BREFs) include BAT Conclusions that contain emission limits associated with BAT, which must not be exceeded unless agreed by the relevant competent authority.

Emissions Standards Legislation in the UK

The UK is committed to maintaining environmental standards and continues to apply the existing successful model of integrated pollution control. The EU Withdrawal Act 2018 maintains established environmental principles and ensures that existing EU environmental law will continue to have effect in UK law, including the IED and BAT Conclusion Implementing Decision made under it.

The UK government has introduced secondary legislation under the EU Withdrawal Act 2018, and further legislation in the devolved administrations where required, to ensure the domestic legislation that implements the IED (including the Transitional National Plan) can continue to operate. This amends current legislation to:

  • correct references to EU legislation
  • transfer powers from EU institutions to UK institutions
  • ensure the UK meets its international agreement obligations

The UK government has made secondary legislation to ensure the existing BAT Conclusions continue to have effect in the UK, to provide powers to adopt future BAT Conclusions in the UK and ensure the devolved administrations maintain powers to determine BAT through their regulatory regimes.

The UK government will put in place a process for determining future UK BAT Conclusions for industrial emissions. This will be developed with the devolved administrations and competent authorities across the UK. The UK government’s Clean Air Strategy for England sets out actions for determining future UK Best Available Techniques for industrial emissions.

It’s the government’s aim to ensure that the future UK BAT regime continues to endorse the collaborative approach of the current system and industry will be a part of that approach.

The UK BAT system also considers the effects of the EU approach.

Published 31 December 2020