The Future of ‘Best Available Techniques’ in the UK: Consultation Limited

The Industrial Emissions Directive (IED)

​The EU’s Industrial Emissions Directive takes an integrated approach to controlling pollution to air, water and land, and establishes challenging industry standards for the most polluting industries. The IED aims to prevent and reduce harmful industrial emissions, while promoting the use of techniques that reduce pollutant emissions and that are energy and resource efficient.

What are ‘Best Available Techniques’ (BAT)?

Larger industrial facilities carrying out certain types of activity must use BAT to reduce emissions to air, water and land. BAT means the economically & technically viable techniques which are the best for preventing or minimising emissions and impacts on the environment. ‘Techniques’ include both the technology used and the way the installation is designed, built, maintained, operated, and decommissioned.

BAT reference documents (BREFS) include BAT conclusions that outline emission limits related with BAT, which cannot be exceeded unless agreed by the relevant competent authority.

Post-Brexit Position

​The EU Withdrawal Act 2018 maintains established environmental principles and ensures that existing EU environmental law will continue to have effect in UK law, including the IED & BAT Conclusion Implementing Decision made under it. Secondary legislation the UK government introduced under the EU withdrawal Act 2018 ensures domestic legislation that implements the IED continues to operate. Similarly, secondary legislation introduced by the UK government ensures the existing BAT Conclusions continue to operate.


An open consultation has been launched seeking views on the UK’s process for developing ‘Best Available Techniques’ for delivering improvements in industrial emissions. The consultation will close on 18 April 2021. The government intends on working openly & collaboratively with industry and use evidence to develop BAT.

The consultation is particularly interested in views on:

  • the proposed organisation and governance process
  • public participation
  • scrutiny
  • policies on implementing BAT
  • how the process will be evaluated