overview of indsutrial plant

What are the implications for UK industrial emissions after EU exit?

Paul Wright Technical Director
Paul Wright

Paul’s previous experience as NRW Industry Regulation Team Leader for North and Mid Wales gives him unrivalled insight into the requirements of environmental permitting and compliance, and in particular, knowledge of how the approach to engagement and improvement can influence the natured timing of Regulator actions. This is complemented by a detailed understanding of industrial business operations gained through over 20 years’ experience of operational and technical management of various sites across a range of industrial sectors.

How will standards for emissions from industry covered by the Best Available Techniques (BAT) regime be affected by the UK's departure from the European Union as of 1 January 2021?
DEFRA has recently published guidance which sets out how the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) Best Available Techniques (BAT) regime will be affected from 1 January 2021 and the potential impact upon Environmental Permit holders.

How will the UK implement existing BAT?
The UK is committed to maintaining high levels of environmental standards after it leaves the EU. The EU Withdrawal Act 2018 maintains the established UK environmental principles and ensures that existing EU environmental law will continue to have effect in UK law, including the IED and BAT Conclusions made under it.

UK government will introduce additional secondary legislation under the EU Withdrawal Act 2018, and further legislation in the devolved administrations where required, to ensure the domestic legislation that implements the IED will continue to operate after EU exit. This will amend existing UK legislation to correct references to EU legislation, transfer powers from EU institutions to UK institutions and ensure the UK meets international agreement obligations.

How will the UK implement future BAT?
The European Commission establishes BAT through the EU level Seville process. As of 1 January 2021, the UK will no longer be part of the Seville process, therefore the UK government will make secondary legislation to ensure that existing BAT continue to have effect in UK law after this date and that the devolved administrations maintain powers to determine BAT through their own regulatory regimes.

The UK government will establish a process for determining UK BAT Conclusions for industrial emissions. This will be developed with the devolved administrations and competent authorities across the UK.

What does this mean in reality?

  • Existing BAT will still apply to UK industry after the UK leaves the European Union on 1 January 2021.
  • The UK will no longer be part of the European BAT process after 1 January 2021.
  • The UK will establish a process for determining UK BAT that will apply across the whole of the UK.
  • Future UK BAT will consider developments at an EU level and will maintain an approach that is broadly consistent with the IED.

It should be remembered that the UK introduced an integrated approach to controlling pollution to air, water and land and a result of the 1990 Environment Act and the concept of Best Available Techniques. These approaches were subsequently adopted and applied across the EU by the IED, so there is no reason to suspect that the UK will not continue to set stringent standards of environmental protection after we leave the European Union on 1 January 2021.


For more information please contact our Environmental Management, Permitting and Compliance team at:
Paul Wright: [email protected] & Colin Malcolm: [email protected]

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