(Last updated February 2006)
In the context of the regulations emissions are defined as being the direct or indirect release of substances, vibration, heat or noise from individual or diffuse sources in an installation into the environment.
In order to gain an IPPC permit, operators of industrial sites must show that they have systematically developed proposals to apply the Best Available Techniques (BAT) to pollution prevention and control and that they address other requirements, relevant to local factors.
IPPC has been implemented to meet the following environmental objectives:
- Protection of the environment as a whole by preventing or minimising emissions to all media (air, land and water)
- Encourage reductions in raw materials and energy use and increased recycling and reuse
- Promote the use of clean technology to reduce pollution at source
- Encourage innovation, by leaving significant responsibility for developing satisfactory solutions to environmental issues with industrial operators
- Provide a "one-stop shop" for administering applications for permits to operate; and
- Simplify and strengthen the role of the Competent Authorities (regulators).
IPPC was introduced by the European Community (EC) Directive 96/61/EC on Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control. In England and Wales the Directive is implemented by the Pollution Prevention and Control (England and Wales) Regulations 2000, in Scotland it is implemented by the Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations 2000), and the Directive is implemented in Northern Ireland by the Pollution Prevention and Control Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2003.
What industries are covered?
IPPC applies to specified installations, including both existing and new builds, requiring each operator to obtain a permit from the appropriate regulator. The following industrial sectors are required to hold a permit:
- Energy Production
- Production & Processing of Metals
- Production of Cement & Lime
- Activities involving Asbestos
- Glass, Glass Fibre and other Mineral Fibre Manufacture
- Ceramic Production
- Organic & Inorganic Chemical Production
- Fertiliser & Biocide Manufacture
- Pharmaceutical Manufacture
- Explosives Manufacture
- Storage of Bulk Chemicals
- Paper Manufacture
- Tar & Bitumen Processes
- Coating, Printing and Textile Activities
- Dye, Ink and Coating Material Manufacture
- Timber Activities
- Rubber Activities
- Processing of Food; and
- Intensive Farming.
Who are the Regulators?
In England and Wales the Environment Agency regulate part A applications and the relevant Local Authority regulate part B applications, in Scotland SEPA regulate all applications and in Northern Ireland the Environment & Heritage Service regulate part A applications with part B application regulated by the Local Authority.
How do I obtain a permit?
In order to obtain a permit to operate an installation, the operator completes the permit application that demonstrates how they will:
- Ensure satisfactory environmental management of the installation
- Prevent or minimise waste production
- Prevent accidents or minimise their effect
- Ensure that closure of the installation does not leave residual pollution
- Promote energy efficiency, waste minimisation and management
- Ensure compliance with other EU Directives, Community and national environmental quality standards (EQSs) and domestic regulations; and
- Apply Best Available Techniques - BAT (see below).
As part of the application process, permit operating conditions are agreed with the regulator and must include:
- Emission limit values for pollutants
- Measures for the protection of soil and groundwater, and management of waste; and
- Requirements for monitoring and obliging the operator to supply the data for checking compliance measures relating to non-standard events such as accidents, start-up conditions or closure of the facility.
The operator must also consider the condition of the site at the time of the original application. This will contribute to assessing the need for restoration if the installation closes.
In determining the application, the regulator must be satisfied that the operator has addressed the above points appropriately. It is therefore the operator's responsibility to demonstrate that this is the case.
Once the regulator has issued a permit, the operator of an IPPC installation will have to carry out monitoring to demonstrate compliance with the permit conditions. Regulators will also carry out their own monitoring and inspections, and have a range of enforcement powers.
What is BAT?
BAT is defined by the regulations as follows:
"the most effective and advanced stage in the development of activities and their methods of operation which indicates the practical suitability of particular techniques for providing in principle the basis for emission limit values designed to prevent and, where that is not practicable, generally to reduce emissions and the impact on the environment as a whole".
The main way of ensuring compliance is by determining and enforcing permit conditions based on this principal. Using the BAT approach ensures that any cost associated with applying the technology is not excessive in relation to level of environmental protection it provides. As a result the more environmental damage a technology can prevent, the more the regulator can justify telling the operator to spend on it before the costs become prohibitive.
What changes are there from IPC to IPPC?
IPPC takes a much wider range of environmental emission into account over the previous Integrated Pollution Control (IPC) system and also applies to a wider range of industries. Previously IPC took into account only emissions to air, land and water whereas IPPC in addition to those already mentioned also looks at resource and energy efficiency, accident prevention and minimisation of other pollutants such as noise, heat and vibrations.
Food & Drink Sector: Installations Covered
Section 6.8 of the IPPC regulations covers Installations undertaking the following activities (known as main activities):
a)Treating and processing materials intended for the production of food products from
- Animal raw materials (other than milk) at a plant with a finished product production capacity greater than 75 tonnes per day; and
- Vegetable raw materials at a plant with a finished product production capacity greater than 300 tonnes per day (average value on a quarterly basis).
b)Treating and processing greater than 200 tonnes per day of milk (average value on an annual basis)
Additionally, associated activities which have a technical connection to the main activity may also require inclusion in the scope of any application. Associated activities may include:
- Storage and handling of raw materials
- Storage and dispatch of finished products, waste and other materials
- The control and abatement systems for emissions to all media
- Waste handling and recycling facilities
- Mixing and Blending
- Heating and Cooking
- Cleaning; and
- The Power Plant.
Where can I get additional information?
Additional information can be found on all aspects of the IPPC regime by clicking on the following websites: