5 June 2018

While the EU tends to allow a long lead-in period for some of its legislation, this is not always a total success, as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has proved.

Sometimes businesses only start to take notice when the implementation period has almost run out.

This could be the case with amendments to the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED), according to a leading water and waste water management company which has warned that thousands of British companies face potential fines and disciplinary action, including the closing of facilities, due to the far-reaching effects of new tightened rules under the IED.

These are set out in “best available techniques” (BATs) or BREF (BAT reference) document requirements, set to come into force later this year.

Declan Maguire, operations director at Alpheus Environmental, has suggested that new obligations are only now becoming apparent as sectoral guidelines come into place.

“Companies that were previously IED compliant will suddenly become non-compliant as they fail to achieve the new standards. If companies are not proactively establishing baseline reports of emissions and addressing deficiencies it will lead to penalties and ultimately facility closures, and no business can sustain this.”

Under the IED, companies are already obliged to reduce harmful industrial emissions, including emissions of waste water and generation of waste, and these rules will become more stringent once the new BREFs are in force.

It is expected that guidance documents currently under preparation by the European Commission will include increased responsibilities in the design, construction, and operation of industrial facilities, specifically including water treatment.

According to Mr Maguire, companies in water-intensive industries such as food and beverages, electronics, leisure, alcohol, manufacturing and pharmaceuticals will be most affected by the new responsibilities.

And despite Brexit, he concluded, industry experts believe these rules will still be maintained in UK law.

See app.croneri.co.uk for in-depth guidance on the IED.