A closeup of the towers of a UK powerstation

Industrial emissions management under scrutiny as UK launches consultation

Image credit: Andrew Norris/Dreamstime

The UK and devolved administrations have launched a consultation which seeks to develop world-leading measures to reduce industrial emissions.

The consultation sets out a possible process for developing new 'Best Available Techniques' (BAT) to limit the environmental impact of polluting industries - such as paper production, waste incineration and ceramic manufacturers - to safeguard and build on the high levels of environmental protection in the UK.

BATs are designed to prevent or minimise emissions and impacts on the environment as a whole. These can include using new technology to limit polluting emissions or improving the way that new installations for medium and heavy industries are designed, built and operated.

The UK previously adopted the European Union (EU) BAT for industrial emissions. However, as the UK is no longer part of the EU, the UK will now consider the best approach for its own needs, taking into consideration UK data as well as reviewing international developments. 

According to the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra): “BAT is 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.

“Outside the EU we can go further in developing a tailored UK regime for better protecting the environment and public health from industrial pollution,” said environment minister Rebecca Pow. “This consultation delivers on our commitment to agree on a common approach for developing BAT across the whole UK, ensuring that we are at the forefront of reducing industrial pollution.”

The proposed measures seek to go further than the existing EU process by conducting a public consultation on every new BAT and making oversight of the development process more transparent and collaborative with industry.

In addition, the government will establish groups including a Standards Council, made up of representatives from the UK and devolved governments, to maintain alignment across the four nations; a new Regulators Group to provide expert technical advice to the Standards Council, and Technical Working Groups for each new BAT under consideration, comprising sector experts from regulators and representatives from the relevant industries.

Pow added: “A more transparent and collaborative BAT regime is crucial for maintaining our high environmental standards, working closely with industry partners. I encourage all those with an interest to take part in this consultation.”

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