Last reviewed 10 February 2021

The UK Government and devolved administrations are seeking views on proposals to develop a new Best Available Techniques (BAT) regime to limit the environmental impact of polluting industries

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.

Launching the consultation, Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said the aim is to develop “a more transparent and collaborative BAT regime” to maintain high environmental standards.

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

BAT are techniques designed to prevent or minimise emissions and impacts on the environment. Larger industrial facilities undertaking specific types of activity are required to use BAT to reduce emissions to air, water and land. BAT for particular industrial sectors are prescribed in BAT reference documents called Best Available Techniques Reference (BREFs) documents.

The UK’s current BAT regime is prescribed by the EU’s Industrial Emissions Directive. The proposed measures seek to go further than the existing EU process by making oversight of the development process more transparent and collaborative with industry. Other proposals include establishing the following groups.

  • 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.

  • Technical Working Groups for each new BAT under consideration, made up of sector experts from regulators and representatives from the relevant industries.

Details of the Defra consultation and access to the online survey are available here.

The consultation will close for views on Sunday 18 April.