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Industrial Emissions Directive: a step towards enhanced environmental compliance


12 Mar 2024


Climate & Environment

Brussels, 12 March 2024 – The European Parliament has officially adopted the revised Industrial Emissions Directive (IED), signaling a new era of environmental responsibility and innovation in industrial processes. ESWET - The European Suppliers of Waste-to-Energy Technology welcomes this development, recognising its potential to substantially enhance environmental performance across Europe.

After extensive negotiations, the revision introduces comprehensive changes aimed at strengthening the Directive's impact on reducing industrial emissions. A pivotal adjustment mandates Competent Authorities to establish the strictest achievable emission limit values (ELVs), utilising Best Available Techniques (BAT). This move shifts the focus from merely not exceeding BAT-associated emission levels (BAT-AELs) to striving for the lowest feasible emissions, a leap forward in environmental protection efforts.

Furthermore, the Directive now requires the setting of binding ranges for environmental performance, including specific limits for water quality and indicative levels for waste and resource management. While these provisions introduce greater ambition, their successful implementation hinges on the level of clarity of the terminology as well as on the conditions that lead to binding or indicative levels in new BAT Conclusions.

Significant for the waste management sector, the revision incorporates BAT conclusions for landfill management, enhancing the synergy between waste management and emissions reduction. Additionally, a notable provision for the sector is the introduction of measurement campaigns during non-standard operating conditions, aligning IED provisions for waste (co-)incineration plants with Waste Incineration BAT Conclusions.

ESWET views the Directive's emphasis on strict ELVs as an opportunity to lead the way in developing and implementing advanced Waste-to-Energy technologies. These technologies not only comply with the new regulations but also contribute to Europe's circular economy and energy transition goals.

However, ESWET also acknowledges the challenges ahead, particularly regarding the application of the new rules and the potential for varied interpretations during national transposition. We stress the importance of proactive engagement with competent authorities to ensure that the relevant rules will be applied only after the publication of the new BAT Conclusions and that the Directive's objectives are realised in a manner that supports innovation, environmental protection, and sustainable industrial growth.

ESWET also underlines that any application of the strictest achievable limit values should consider the cross-media effects; the lowest emissions will likely come with higher energy consumption and higher use of reagents, showing a tension between BAT-AELs and BAT-AEPLs.

ESWET is committed to playing a pivotal role in the green transition, driving forward Waste-to-Energy technologies that meet the highest environmental standards. As a next step, our focus now turns to the procedures for the revision of the BAT reference documents (BREFs).