EU industrial pollution register published

Environmentally significant industries to start plant-by-plant reporting of 50 pollutants in 2003

The European Commission yesterday announced formal adoption of a decision to create a harmonised EU register of pollution from major industrial plants. Modelled on the USA's "toxic release inventory," the first "European pollutant emission register" (EPER) will probably be published late in 2003. It will contain plant-by-plant data on emissions to air and water by some 20,000 industrial facilities of 50 key pollutants.

EPER's creation is required by the 1996 directive on integrated pollution prevention and control (IPPC). A committee of national representatives thrashed out rules for the register over three years, voting a final version through in January. The plan only just passed with France, Italy and Austria voting against. ENDS Daily understands that the first two felt the proposals were too ambitious while Austria thought it was not ambitious enough. Together they fell just two votes short of a blocking minority.

Under the decision, EU countries must report a first batch of data to the Commission in June 2003. This should cover 2001 releases, with a possibility for individual countries to report 2000 or 2002 emissions instead. A second tri-annual report will be made in 2006 for 2004 data. A third report will be made in 2008 based on 2007 data, after which annual reporting of the previous year's emissions is envisaged.

The Commission stressed yesterday that the register's introduction was a key element of the IPPC directive's toolbox for cutting industrial pollution. It would satisfy a public right to know about pollution from individual industrial facilities and encourage public comparison in different plants, industries and countries, the Commission said. EPER would also enable "naming and shaming" of poor performers while providing data to demonstrate any improvement in emissions over time.

The 50 pollutants covered by EPER include major air pollutants and all six greenhouse gases included in the Kyoto climate protocol. Others are heavy metals, a series of chlorinated organic substances and several other organic and inorganic compounds. Reporting of any of these substances is only to be required if specified emission thresholds are exceeded.

See below for a link to the full text of the decision including the list of pollutants and release thresholds.

Follow Up:
European Commission, tel: +32 2 299 1111, and see press release IP/00/816 dated 20/7/00 on Rapid. See also the text of the decision.

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