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

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Closes 18 Apr 2021

Introduction

Industrial installations undertaking specific types of activity are required to use ‘Best Available Techniques’ to reduce emissions to air, water and land. ‘Best Available Techniques’ means the economically and technically viable available techniques which are the best for preventing or minimising emissions and impacts on the environment as a whole. ‘Techniques’ include both the technology used and the way the installation is designed, built, maintained, operated and decommissioned. ‘Best Available Techniques’ is used to determine the types of abatement technologies and methods operators should put in place, as well as setting associated emission limits associated with the use of ‘Best Available Techniques’ within environmental permits.

The UK Government, the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government, and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland are putting in place a new regime for the development of ‘Best Available Techniques’ within the UK. The power for defining “Best Available Techniques” conclusions is transferred to each government independently, but, through the new process, they will work together to determine ‘Best Available Techniques’ within the UK.  Existing ‘Best Available Techniques’ already determined under the EU ‘Best Available Techniques’ process will continue to apply in the UK. This EU process produces ‘Best Available Techniques’ Conclusions for specific types of processes or sectors and includes associated emission limits that must not be exceeded, unless agreed by the relevant competent authority. The sectors considered under the new regime will remain consistent with the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) framework. 

The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 ensures that the existing ‘Best Available Techniques’ Conclusions continue to have effect in UK law. It provides powers for the Secretary of State to determine ‘Best Available Techniques’ within the UK, which may include Devolved Administrations if consent is given by their Ministers. It also ensures that Devolved Administrations will retain the power to determine ‘Best Available Techniques’ in their countries, including setting their own ‘Best Available Techniques’ where desired.

A process is required to enable information to be exchanged, and technical views to be collated, in order to determine ‘Best Available Techniques’ within the UK.

In developing ‘Best Available Techniques’ within the UK the government and Devolved Administrations will:

  • Ensure high levels of environmental protection while maintaining a proportionate approach and avoiding unnecessary bureaucracy. Now that the UK has left the EU we will ensure an efficient and effective process that is tailored to UK needs, achieving the UK’s environmental ambitions.
  • Continue the existing successful model of integrated pollution control to reduce emissions to air, water and land.
  • Continue the commitment to continuous improvement, building on existing good practice to deliver a stable and predictable regulatory environment for business as part of a world leading clean green economy.
  • Continue to develop and determine ‘Best Available Techniques’ as the basis for setting environmental permit requirements, including emission limits.
  • Ensure an open, transparent and collaborative approach with stakeholders, including the regulated industry to which the ‘Best Available Techniques’ would apply, as part of an evidence led approach.
  • Recognise the importance of maintaining policy stability for industry in order to send a clear, long-term signal, to provide the certainty they need to make investment decisions

In addition, the UK Government and Devolved Governments are committed to safeguarding and improving environmental standards. Any ‘Best Available Techniques’ determined in Northern Ireland will need to ensure account is taken of the Northern Ireland Protocol, which requires some specific activities that interact with the Single Electricity Market to continue to align with the IED.

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Confidentiality and Data Protection Information

1. A summary of responses to this consultation will be published on the Government website at: www.gov.uk/defra. An annex to the consultation summary will list all organisations that responded but will not include personal names, addresses or other contact details. 1.1Defra may publish the content of your response to this consultation to make it available to the public without your personal name and private contact details (e.g. home address, email address, etc). 1.2 If you click on ‘Yes’ in response to the question asking if you would like anything in your response to be kept confidential, you are asked to state clearly what information you would like to be kept as confidential and explain your reasons for confidentiality. The reason for this is that information in responses to this consultation may be subject to release to the public or other parties in accordance with the access to information law (these are primarily the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIRs), the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA)). We have obligations, mainly under the EIRs, FOIA and DPA, to disclose information to particular recipients or to the public in certain circumstances. In view of this, your explanation of your reasons for requesting confidentiality for all or part of your response would help us balance these obligations for disclosure against any obligation of confidentiality. If we receive a request for the information that you have provided in your response to this consultation, we will take full account of your reasons for requesting confidentiality of your response, but we cannot guarantee that confidentiality can be maintained in all circumstances. 1.3 If you click on ‘No’ in response to the question asking if you would like anything in your response to be kept confidential, we will be able to release the content of your response to the public, but we won’t make your personal name and private contact details publicly available. 1.4There may be occasions when Defra will share the information you provide in response to the consultation, including any personal data with external analysts. This is for the purposes of consultation response analysis and provision of a report of the summary of responses only. 1.5 This consultation is being conducted in line with the Cabinet Office “Consultation Principles” and be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/consultation-principles-guidance. 1.6 If you have any comments or complaints about the consultation process, please address them to: Consultation Coordinator, Defra 2nd Floor, Foss House, Kings Pool, 1-2 Peasholme Green, York, YO1 7PX Or email: consultation.coordinator@defra.gov.uk
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