EU Parliament votes for stronger pollution directive

On 4 May the European Parliament’s environment committee agreed to somewhat strengthen proposals to revise the EU directive on industrial pollution (IPPC). It called for stricter derogations from certain requirements than were agreed by the Council in June last year (see AN 3/09, pp. 20-21). Some members of parliament (MEPs) joined forces with environmental organisations in concluding that the demands were not ambitious enough.

The Parliament’s rapporteur, German liberal Holger Krahmer, said the compromise reached by committee members was a good start for negotiations with the Council of Ministers. The parliament’s full assembly will vote on the proposals in July.

Among other things, stricter conditions for deviating from best available techniques (BAT) were agreed, meaning that operators of IPPC installations would only be able to deviate from BAT in specific cases, provided certain conditions are met.

Regarding transitional plans, MEPs said certain large combustion plants (LCPs) should be given until June 2019 to comply with NOx and SO2 limits, while the Council wants a December 2020 deadline.

MEPs also agreed that the proposed limited lifetime derogation should only be granted to LCPs not operating for more than 12,500 hours in total, compared with 20,000 hours as proposed by Council.

The committee agreed to include a provision allowing member states to set limits for emissions of CO2 for all sorts of industrial plants if they want to – a measure strongly supported by environmental organisations. Mr Krahmer says this conflicts with emissions trading legislation, and it is expected that the Council will try to remove it in their second reading position.

Sources: ENDS Europe Daily and press release by the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) 4 May 2010.

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