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Industrial emissions: revision of rules to reduce pollution

Parliament has adopted its position for negotiations with Council on rules to reduce pollution in the green transition.

von | 19.07.23

Large industrial installations and large pig and poultry farms must further reduce air, water and soil pollution.
Photo: AdobeStock/Weerayuth
Industrial emissions: revision of rules to reduce pollution
19.07.2023 Ι European Parliament has adopted its position for negotiations with Council on rules to reduce pollution and steer large agro-industrial installations in the green transition.

Parliament’s position on the industrial emission directive (IED) and the directive on the landfill of waste was adopted by MEPs with 396 votes in favour, 102 against and 131 abstentions. On the regulation on the Industrial Emissions Portal, MEPs adopted their negotiating mandate with 563 votes in favour, 51 against and 18 abstentions.

Industries and livestock farms covered by the new rules

MEPs backed the Commission proposal to extend the IED to extractive industry installations (mines) and large installations manufacturing batteries (except for those exclusively assembling battery modules and battery packs). The directive obliges them to further reduce air, water and soil pollution.

Concerning livestock farms, MEPs voted to keep the current rules and include pig farms with more than 2 000 places for production pigs (over 30 kg), or with more than 750 places for sows and poultry farms with more than 40 000 places for poultry as well as farms with more than 750 livestock units (LSU). Parliament does not want to extend it to cattle farms as proposed by the Commission. The Commission originally proposed a threshold of 150 LSU for all livestock. MEPs also underline the importance of ensuring producers outside the EU meet requirements similar to EU rules.

Transparency and public participation

MEPs also voted to increase transparency and public participation in relation to the licensing, operation and control of regulated installations. The European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register would be transformed into an EU Industrial Emissions Portal where citizens can access data on all EU permits and local polluting activities.

After the vote, rapporteur Radan Kanev (EPP, Bulgaria), said: “Better environmental protection does not need to lead to more bureaucracy. Innovation is key to achieving zero pollution and for this, we need a more competitive European industrial sector. EU policy must be realistic, economically feasible, and not threaten competitiveness. Our position provides breathing space for businesses by giving them reasonable transition periods to prepare for the new requirements, fast-track procedures for permits and flexibility to develop emerging techniques.”

Parliament is now ready to start negotiations with Council on the final shape of the legislation.

Background: industrial emission directive

The industrial emission directive lays down rules on preventing and controlling pollution from large agro-industrial installations’ emissions into air, water and soil, which can lead to health problems such as asthma, bronchitis and cancer that cause hundreds of thousands of premature deaths each year in the EU. It is part of the EU’s green and circular transformation of industry, bringing significant health and environmental benefits for citizens.

This legislation is responding to citizens’ expectations concerning the polluter pays principle and speeding up the green transition and promoting greener production processes as expressed in proposals 2(2), 3(1), 11(1) and 12(5) of the conclusions of the Conference on the Future of Europe.

Download “Conference on the Future of Europe” (PDF)

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