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EU agrees stricter rules on industrial emissions

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Wednesday, 30 June 2010

EU agrees stricter rules on industrial emissions

Factories and power plants will have to take further steps to cut the emissions that cause acid rain, pollute rivers and soils, following an agreement struck between EU governments and MEPs on July 18th ,2010 on new legislation on industrial emissions. Industrial plants are expected to have to comply with the new rules by 2012 although some of the most polluting plants will be exempt from the law for up to 13 years, a loophole that a leading MEP described as “a European tragedy”.The law will require industrial plants - from steel-works to meat-processing plants - to use the most-advanced technologies and practices to reduce waste and hazardous substances, known as “best available techniques”. The law tightens emission limits for a wide range of pollutants, including nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide, dust, asbestos and heavy metals. The biggest disputes between governments and MEPs had been on how much leeway plants should be given on applying best available techniques. The European Parliament had wanted tightly-defined European standards, while environment ministers had insisted on the need for flexibility. In the end, the ministers mostly won this battle. National authorities will be allowed to give licences to plants that do not use best available techniques, if they would lead to “disproportionately higher costs” compared to the environmental benefits. However, the Commission européenne and Parliament believe they have wrung an important concession, because, for the first time, the law defines when authorities can depart from best available techniques, this restricting some flexibility.

Source: Europeanvoice