The UK Governments have launched a consultation on how future UK Best Available Techniques’ or BAT standards will be established for installations regulated under industrial emissions legislation now that we have left the EU.

The consultation closes on 18th April 2021 and members are invited to submit their initial comments by 24 February for inclusion in a draft FDF response.

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Following the UK’s exit from the European Union, the UK Government, together with the Governments of the three devolved nations, have launched a joint consultation on the design of a future regime for developing ‘Best Available Techniques’ or BATs within the UK. This is intended to operate across all four countries.

The regime is designed to produce equivalent BAT conclusions to the current European IPPC Bureau (EIPPCB) process under the Industrial Emissions Directive(IED) whether these be expressed as BAT Associated Emission Levels or AELs, Associated Environmental Performance Levels or AEPLs or descriptive techniques.

Following Brexit, the power for defining BAT conclusions is transferred to each government independently and different countries in the UK may set different BATs. This new regime is designed to allow all four countries to work together to determine ‘BATs’ within the UK with as much commonality in approach as possible. However,the consultation does not rule out the possibility for each of the four nations to determine BATs differently in different parts of the UK.

‘BATs’ means the economically and technically viable techniques which are the best for preventing or minimising emissions and impacts on the environment as a whole. The IED requires in scope installations to use ‘BATs’ to reduce emissions to air, water and land. This consultation will therefore be of particular interest to those member companies with one or more installations regulated under this Directive.

Existing ‘BATs’ already determined under the EIPPCB process will continue to apply in the UK. The scope of sectors considered under the new regime will remain consistent with the IED framework at least for now.The UK Governments are proposing to develop and set future ‘BATs’, based on the same principles that have been followed since the concept was devised ie a transparent, collaborative, data and evidence led process that safeguards and builds on the high levels of environmental protection already in place across the UK. This evidence-led process would continue to involve the regulated industry to which the
‘BATs’ would apply.

The consultation sets out a proposed new governance structure for the development of ‘BATs’ within the UK. This includes the establishment of sector specific Technical Working Groups (TWGs) comprising sector experts from the UK regulators, industry representatives and other interested parties with technical expertise on sector ‘Best Available Techniques’. These TWGs would provide the opportunity for exchange of information, including installation level data and technical expertise, to enable recommendations on ‘Best Available Techniques’ to be developed. In this respect the approach would be similar to the current European IPPCB process.

The timetable for sector reviews of ‘BATs’ would broadly follow the current rolling programme, although the consultation suggests that changes could be made to this. It is also proposed to maintain the current 4-year time line for implementing ‘BATs’ from the point of publication; it is also proposed to maintain the current approach to granting derogations.

However, unlike the current EIPPCB approach it is proposed to include a two-stage public participation process in the new regime, first, as part of an initial call for evidence for relevant technical information etc at the start of a review and, following the creation of a ‘BATs’ determination document, a further public consultation.

The consultation also proposes a change to the current operational guidance around the setting of emission limit values within permits in England and Wales. This would allow the regulator to select the most appropriate value rather than at the top (least stringent) of the range. This would not apply to installations such as food and drink, which have recently already undergone a permit review under the European IED framework, until the sector is next reviewed under the new UK regime.

Following the end of the Brexit transition period the four UK Governments have already put in place a joint working arrangement to establish, maintain and review a process for developing and setting BAT known as ‘The BAT Common Framework’. This is part of the UK Government and Devolved Governments’ Common Framework Programme provided for in the EU Withdrawal Act. This Framework is expected to consider the governance arrangements set out in this consultation.

More details can be found in esc-105-20.pdf.

The consultation closes on 18 April. To help with the drafting of an FDF response would be grateful to receive initial views from members on the questions posed in the consultation along with any other issues, by Wednesday 24 February.

Thereafter we will aim to circulate a first draft response for consideration.

Consultation response submissions closed

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