European Union (EU) member states have recently approved revisions to the EU’s industrial pollution prevention and control (IPPC) directive and a decision to combine the IPPC directive with six related directives on waste incineration and sources of industrial pollution. Under the revisions, steelmakers, chemical plants, waste incinerators, and other potentially polluting industrial sites will be required by 2016 to use “best available techniques” (BAT) for pollution control in their sectors. New plants must apply BAT starting in 2012.

Under the revised directive, which EU justice ministers approved November 8, 2010, certain exemptions from BAT standards will be permitted for plants where particular local characteristics would make conformity disproportionately expensive. Facilities scheduled to close by the end of 2023 are also exempted from the BAT standards. The new legislation is expected to be published in the Official Journal of the EU in the next few weeks.