‘Best Available Techniques’– A future regime within the UK

Closed 18 Apr 2021

Opened 25 Jan 2021



Following the UK’s exit from the European Union, the UK Government the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government, and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland are firmly committed to providing a future regime for the development of 'Best Available Techniques' within the UK.

This consultation sets out how we will ensure a collaborative approach to developing 'Best Available Techniques' within the UK, within a framework that provides a clear process for collating and sharing technical views, determining new 'Best Available Techniques' and ensuring that both 'Best Available Techniques'  and the 'Best Available Techniques' determination process is evaluated.

‘Best Available Techniques’ means the economically and technically viable techniques which are the best for preventing or minimising emissions and impacts on the environment as a whole.

As we develop the detail of the new regime for ‘Best Available Techniques’ development within the UK, we particularly wish to hear views from stakeholders on key elements of policy design, including the organisation and governance process, public participation, scrutiny, related policies on implementing ‘Best Available Techniques’, and how the process will be evaluated.

The UK Government and the devolved governments have been at the forefront of reducing industrial pollution, using a proportionate framework of regulation to require industry to improve their environmental performance, and industry has responded with investment and innovation to meet these standards.

The UK introduced an integrated approach to controlling pollution to air, water and land in the Environmental Protection Act 1990, as well as the concept of ‘Best Available Techniques’. These approaches have subsequently been adopted and applied across the EU through the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Directive and subsequent Industrial Emissions Directive (IED), which sets challenging industry standards for the most polluting industries.

We are proposing to develop and set future ‘Best Available Techniques’, based on the same principles we have followed since the concept was devised; a transparent, collaborative, data and evidence led process that safeguards and builds on the high levels of environmental protection already in place across the UK.

Air quality is a devolved policy area and, following the UK’s exit from the European Union, the power for defining “Best Available Techniques” conclusions is transferred to each government independently. Different countries in the UK may set different ‘Best Available Techniques’. For instance, Scottish Government has committed to maintaining alignment with EU standards where possible. However, whilst some aspects of ‘Best Available Techniques’ may be different, a common approach to the development of ‘Best Available Techniques’ within the UK will be taken.

Why your views matter

This is a joint consultation to set out the UK Government and Devolved Administrations’ approach to a regime for developing ‘Best Available Techniques’ which will be used in environmental permitting for certain industrial activities. This consultation seeks stakeholders’ views on the design of the proposed UK regime

What happens next

Defra received 77 responses to this consultation. The majority were from trade associations and consultancies representing the various industrial sectors regulated under the Industrial Emissions Directive.

We also received responses from regulators such as Local Authorities, Non-Governmental Organisations, and individuals. We’re currently finalising a new BAT regime with the Devolved Administrations which will be informed by the responses to the consultation. We aim to publish details of the BAT regime by the end of 2021.


  • Charities/Voluntary Organisations
  • Food Industry
  • Abattoir Operator
  • Aggregates sector
  • Energy sector
  • Industries and professional services
  • Local Authorities
  • Waste Management Companies
  • Manufacturing Industry
  • Member of the General Public


  • Natural environment
  • Waste and recycling
  • Water quality
  • Air quality
  • Air pollution
  • Resource Efficiency
  • Pollution Sector