Even more so now with the introduction of the new Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) regulations, a system which follows the European Community Directive (96/61) to introduce an improved, more integrated approach to controlling pollution from industrial sources.
What is Integrated Pollution Prevention & Control?
The system of IPPC applies an integrated environmental approach to the regulation of certain industrial activities. This means that emissions to air, water (including discharges to sewer) and land, plus a range of other environmental effects, must be considered together. It also means that regulators must set permit conditions so as to achieve a high level of protection for the environment as a whole. These conditions are based on the use of the Best Available Techniques (BAT), which balances the costs to the operator against the benefits to the environment.
IPPC aims to prevent emissions and waste production and where that is not practicable, reduce them to acceptable levels. It also takes the integrated approach beyond the initial task of permitting, through to the restoration of sites when industrial activities cease.
The UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has produced an excellent practical guide to this new legislation, to help those operating or regulating activities prescribed under the terms of the Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC) Regulations 2000. It describes the main provisions and sets out the views of the Secretaries of State for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and for Wales (the Secretary of State) on how the system should be applied and how particular terms should be interpreted.
The guide covers many of the following issues:
- Overview of the regulatory process
- Activities, installations, operators etc.
- Time frame for obtaining permits
- Permit applications
- Consultation on permit applications
- Determination of permit applications
- Management systems and operator competence
- Required standards and best available techniques (BAT)
- Environmental quality standards, including EC requirements
- Changes to installations that have already been permitted
- Permit transfers
- Permit reviews
- Site assessment and restoration
- Special consideration for activities involving waste
- Checking and enforcing compliance
- Public registers and information
- Indicative list of pollutants
- Factors to be considered in determining BAT
- EC environmental quality standards… request a copy of the full document >>