Last week, the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament reached a provisional agreement on the details of the revision of the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED). Several points were approved in the audit trilogues, which also have an impact on the forest industry.

The Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) is the EU’s main instrument for preventing and reducing pollution caused by large industrial installations. The main objective of the ongoing revision of the directive is to ensure that the Industrial Emissions Directive steers European industry towards the EU’s zero-pollution ambition.

The Finnish Forest Industries Federation is mainly satisfied with the outcome of the Council and Parliament trilogues addressing the revision, except for the undefined nature of certain limit values.

Concrete approach needed

The Council and Parliament proposed that the emission levels of industrial installations be tightened to the strictest achievable level. This is a much-needed change to the Directive’s original plan, which would have set emission levels at the strictest possible level.

“The change in the wording brings with it much-needed realism and flexibility, which makes it possible for industrial operators from different backgrounds to better keep up with the emission measures than the original proposal,” says Helena Sivula, Senior Adviser, Environment at the Finnish Forest Industries Federation.

By decision of the trilogues, the directive will also introduce environmental performance limit values (EPLV) to the permit process. Only as the trilogues progress will it become clear what kinds of measures or effects the limit values will bring about.

“For us, the question is essential, especially when it comes to water consumption, and we are actively monitoring the progress of the matter. The positive thing about the outcome of the trilogues, however, is that not all aspects of environmental performance were subjected to limits as stringent as originally planned. For example, in terms of waste, resource efficiency, energy efficiency and the use of raw materials, environmental performance targets will be flexible.”

Industrial emissions data made even more public

The revision also wants to make the data under the Industrial Emissions Directive more transparent. If the position of the trilogues were to proceed to legislation, Member States would have to set up electronic permit systems by 2035. Industry operators should also collect their environmental data in a public portal (IEP).

In the trilogues, the Council and Parliament agreed that states should define and introduce sanctions for breaches of the directive. According to them, citizens should also have the right to claim compensation for the health damage caused by breaches of the implementation of the directive.

The Finnish Forest Industries Federation monitors the progress of the Industrial Emissions Directive.