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INDUSTRIAL POLLUTION : IPPC: LAST ATTEMPT TO AVOID CONCILIATION PROCEDURE.

The Council, the European Parliament and the Commission met, on 3 June, for a second round of informal three-way talks on the draft directive on industrial pollution (recast of the Directive on integrated pollution prevention and control - IPPC). The meeting that opened in a tense atmosphere after the Parliament announced its position the day before quickly turned into a fiasco. Ten minutes into the talks, the Spanish EU Presidency was obliged to observe that no progress was possible because the Council and the EP were both standing their ground.

Two points are in question: extension of the possibilities to depart from the emissions limit values set in the framework of best available techniques (BAT - Article 15(4) of the draft directive), and additional flexibility or longer time periods for large combustion plants (LCPs). The Commission has presented a compromise proposal that the member states (Coreper) will review, on 9 June. If they can move forward in this direction, the three-way talks will continue; otherwise the third meeting will be cancelled and the conciliation procedure will begin.

Presented as a last attempt to avoid conciliation, the Commission tabled its compromise proposal that establishes that the possibility for states to set less stringent limit values (Article 15.3) is subject to the condition of proving that the costs of implementing the BAT limit values are greater and are disproportionate to the expected environmental benefits considering the geographical and/or environmental situation of the installation concerned or its technical characteristic (Paragraph 4). In exchange, suggests the Commission, large combustion plants could be given longer deadlines, under certain conditions, for complying with the new standards. The following provisions would be concerned:

- transitional national plans: limited to 31 December 2020 (Council), 30 June 2019 (EP) and 31 December 2019 (Commission compromise)

- time-limited derogations: from 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2023 for a maximum of 20,000 hours of activity (Council); from 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2020 and 12,500 hours of activity (EP) and from 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2021 for 15,000 hours of activity (Commission)

- derogations for urban heating installations: to 31 December 2023 (Council), 31 December 2019 (EP) and 31 December 2021 (Commission)

- definition of hours of activity': including start-up and shutdown hours (Council); excluding these hours (EP); the Commission supports the Council's position

- desulphurisation rate: the EP added a provision asking the Commission to review, by 31 December 2015, the possibility to apply the minimum desulphurisation rate set in Annex V, taking account of BAT. The Commission endorses this proposal.

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Publication:European Report
Date:Jun 8, 2010
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