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EU directives and international agreements

Several EU directives and international agreements apply in various ways to industrial emissions.

The Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Directive

This directive applies to the more complex and potentially polluting industries and deals with any likely significant pollutant emission to air, water or land. It also addresses noise, energy efficiency, waste minimisation, prevention of accidental emissions and site protection and restoration. Its requirements will be incorporated in and strengthened by the Industrial Emissions Directive from the end of 2012.

The Large Combustion Plants Directive

This directive applies to combustion installations with a rated thermal input of 50 megawatts or more. It requires that limit values for emissions to air of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and dust must be at least as stringent as those it specifies for different types of combustion plant. Its requirements will be incorporated in and strengthened by the Industrial Emissions Directive.

The Waste Incineration Directive

This directive applies to all plants incinerating or co-incinerating waste (other than a very few specified types of waste), irrespective of their size. It requires that limit values for emissions to air or water of certain pollutants must be at least as stringent as those it specifies. It also specifies exacting operating and monitoring conditions.  Its requirements will be incorporated in the Industrial Emissions Directive from the end of 2012.

Petrol Vapour Recovery Directives

There are two Petrol Vapour Recovery Directives.  The Stage I Directive controls volatile organic compound emissions from the storage of petrol at terminals and most petrol stations.  The Stage II Directive targets the same emissions when vehicles are refuelled at larger petrol stations.

The Solvent Emissions and Paint Products Directives

This Solvent Emissions directive specifies mainly air emission requirements for listed installations using organic solvents and emitting volatile organic compounds. The Paint Products Directive specifies the maximum amount of organic solvents that can be contained in paints and other products when they are marketed.

The Industrial Emissions Directive

This directive combines and in some cases strengthens the requirements of all of the above directives except for Paint Products. It also contains requirements derived from three current directives applying specifically to installations producing titanium dioxide.  It will be transposed into UK law by the end of 2012.

The Sulphur Content of Liquid Fuels Directive

This directive specifies the amount of sulphur that can be present in gas oil and heavy fuel oil.

The European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register Regulation

This regulation is directly binding on operators of specified industrial activities (roughly those subject to the IPPC Directive) and requires them to report pollutant emissions above specified thresholds for incorporation in the register.  This register fulfils the requirements of a Protocol of the Aarhus Convention.

Protocols of the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution have a bearing on industrial emissions.

Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution

Page last modified: 8 February 2011