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 or to their scale (i.e. mainly medium to large industrial enterprises).
If their activities fall under the Directive, enterprises must submit an application in order to obtain an environmental permit from the authorities in the respective EU Member State. In such an application more detailed information has to be submitted compared to other authorisations. These IPPC permits take into account the general environmental performance (integrated approach) and cover emissions to air, water and soil as well as generation of waste, use of raw materials and energy, prevention of accidents, and restoration of the site upon closure of the facility. The permit must take into consideration Best Available Techniques (BAT). BATs, describe the most effective alternatives in achieving a high general level of protection for the environment as a whole and , should be considered for setting emission limit values. Companies should comply with the emission limits.
The Directive applies to the following categories of activities, mentioned in Annex I, which are generally known to be related with a high pollution potential:
(In Annex I other activities are listed: 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 use of animal carcases and animal, intensive rearing of poultry or pigs, surface treatment with use of 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 seven separate Directives relating to industrial emissions, including the IPPC Directive into one single legal text. 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) that the use of ‘less hazardous substances’ should be considered.
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 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 are prescribed in the BAT in order to achieve and maintain the emission limit levels) cause high costs, the enterprise may consider substitution as a reasonable alternative solution.
Last update: 19.07.2019