A new Best Available Techniques framework for the UK

The Government has announced the establishment of a new Best Available Techniques framework for the United Kingdom (UK BAT) to prevent and reduce harmful industrial emissions to air, water and land, as the country moves away from the European Union’s framework.

N.B. Although the UK no longer needs to meet the requirements of any new European Union (EU) BAT following Brexit, existing EU BAT continue to apply in the UK through the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.

What are Best Available Techniques?

Best Available Techniques (BAT) are the best economically and technologically viable techniques to prevent or minimise emissions and impacts on the environment. You need to use BAT if your organisation has any permitted installations, e.g. a refinery or food factory.

Who will develop UK BAT?

The new UK BAT framework will be developed by technical working groups (TWG) which will include experts from:

  • industry;
  • trade associations;
  • academia;
  • non-governmental organisations (NGOs); and
  • UK regulators.

The draft UK BAT Conclusions (BATC) will be published in public consultations for comment, following which the UK, Scottish and Welsh governments together with the Northern Ireland Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) will publish the final BATC as statutory instruments. The BATC will then be used as a basis for environmental permit conditions.

How long will the whole process take?

Given the complexity of the industrial sector, the UK BAT system will take between 1 and 3 years to complete, with the order of the industries to be announced in advance by the Government. For now, the first 4 industries to establish new BAT (likely by the second half of next year) are:

  1. Ferrous metal processing – galvanising (FMPG);
  2. Ferrous metals processing – forming (FMPF);
  3. Textiles (TXT); and
  4. Waste gas treatment in the chemicals sector (WGC).

If you would like to read a bit more into UK BAT, please click here