A water and waste water management company has today warned that thousands of British companies face potential fines and disciplinary action, including the closing of facilities, due to the far-reaching effects of newly tightened rules for the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED)
Experts at Alpheus Environmental, a subsidiary of Anglian Water Group, have warned that many companies are unaware of the extent and potential impact of the new rules. These are prescribed in ‘best available techniques’ set to come into force later this year.
Under the EU Industrial Emissions Directive, companies are obliged to reduce harmful industrial emissions, including emissions of waste water and generation of waste. The ‘polluter pays’ principle also puts the onus on companies to upgrade their facilities and for them to pay for any damage done to the environment.
EU regulators are currently drafting a series of best practices that will heighten already-stringent obligations on waste water and generation of waste for the decade ahead.
The legislation aims to integrate and strengthen existing legislation, broaden the scope of industrial activities regulated, establish and prescribe the technologies required in each sector to reduce emissions, and require companies to establish a baseline of emission report upon which licence thresholds will be set and adjusted.
Despite Brexit, industry experts believe these regulations will still be maintained in UK law.
Experts anticipate that the new EU guidance documents will include increased responsibilities in the design, construction, and operation of industrial facilities, specifically including water treatment.
Water management expert Declan Maguire, operations director at Alpheus Environmental said:
‘Despite the fact that this legislation is in place since 2013, the extent of the new obligations are only now becoming apparent as sectoral guidelines come into place. Companies that were previously IED complainant 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’
It is widely agreed within the water sector that Brexit will likely not affect the relevant legislation in the UK, which it implemented along with other EU member states after the current EU Industrial Emissions Directive came into effect in 2013.
Companies in water-intensive industries such as food & beverage, electronics, leisure, alcohol, manufacturing, and pharmaceuticals will be most affected by the new responsibilities.