It is vital in these energy conscious times for any organisation to get its house in order with regards to legislation and regulations. Here, William Wilson, barrister, environmental law, Burges Salmon, explains the implications of the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED)

Adopted on 24th November 2010 and entered into force on 6th January 2011, the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) is a recast of seven existing directives covering industrial emissions, which it will repeal and replace. These include the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) Directive, the Large Combustion Plants (LCP) Directive, The Waste Incineration Directive (WID), the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) Directive and three Titanium Dioxide (Ti02) Directives. There are important changes to the test on Best Available Techniques (BAT) which will affect a wide range of installations. There are also important provisions on the limited lifetime for some combustion plants. Transposition of most of the IED into national regulations is required by 7th January 2013.

Repealed and replaced

The IPPC Directive applies pollution control and BAT to 50,000 installations ranging from breweries and power plants to large pig farms. It is implemented at present by the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010. It will be repealed with effect from 7th January 2014.

The LCP Directive limits emissions of pollutants to air from large combustion plants, and is a key driver to the power station closure programme and the need for a replacement of the UK’s power stations after 2016. The LCP Directive will be repealed with effect from 1st January 2016. Transitional national plans may allow for exceptions for longer periods for LCPs permitted before 27th November 2002, and there is a limited exception for certain LCPs to 2023 where limited operations and certain conditions apply. There are other relevant exceptions for small isolated systems and district heating plans.

The WID will be repealed with effect from 1st January 2014. It contains controls on dust, NOx, SO2, HCI, HF, heavy metals, dioxins and furans from incinerators. The VOCs Directive will be repealed from 7th January 2014. It limits VOCs from solvents, for example, in printing, cleaning, footwear manufacture and pharmaceuticals.

Three (TiO2) Directives will be repealed from 7th January 2014. They control production of titanium dioxide in manufacturing processes, typically involving sulphuric acid, for example, pigments in paints, ink and paper.

IED aims

The aims and objectives of the IED include the co-ordination and updating of industrial emissions controls spread over these seven directives and it introduces updated and improved application of the BAT test. It resulted from sometimes difficult negotiations between industry and environmental interests represented in the European Parliament and EU Member States, and concessions were made, particularly on the transition for power plants to achieve overall greater consistency.

The main impacts of the IED are that it sets limits for air pollution, and rules on integrated pollution prevention and control to prevent or reduce emissions to air, land and water and to limit waste generation. It also applies stricter controls on nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide and dust. Stronger application of the BAT test will be required (see table below), and requirements for permit conditions outside BAT will need to be justified. Minimum emission limit values will be tightened, for example, for large combustion plants. It requires general binding rules to be applied on the basis of BAT, and these will need to be kept up to date. Industries affected will include all those with IPPC installations, and particularly industries including energy, metals, minerals, chemicals, waste management and other activities.


In summary, the IED is an important piece of legislation that goes right to the heart of pollution control over industrial emissions in the main industries regulated within the UK and the EU.

As an example, in the autumn of 2011, Burges Salmon worked with SKM Enviros to produce a detailed study of the impacts of the IED on the water industry. This is now published and available to download through the UK Water Industry Research (UKWIR) website at

Best Available Techniques

The IED does not represent a full re-write of the seven directives which it repeals and replaces, but there are some significant changes being introduced around the margins, and particularly in the area of the BAT test. Examples of significant new provisions covering BAT in the IED include:

Article 13 on BAT reference documents and the exchange of information.

Article 14 on permit conditions.

Article 15 on emission limit values and equivalent parameters and technical measures.

Article 19 on further emphasis on updated BAT conclusions and developments in BAT required to be reflected.

Article 21 on reconsidering and updating permit conditions by the competent authority.

Article 24 on access to information and public participation in the permit procedure.

Burges Salmon

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