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BAT – A short history in Ireland

The BAT concept and its application are crucial to the IPPC licensing process in Ireland. The following summaries the journey to date;

The IPPC Directive 96/61/EC (in a draft format when the EPA Act 1992 was being finalised) lays down a framework requiring Member States to issue operating permits for certain installations carrying on industrial activities described in Annex 1. The Directive applied to new or substantially changed installations with effect from October 1999 and no later than October 2007 for existing installations.

In Ireland BAT (Best Available Technique) began life in the mid 90’s as BATNEEC (Best Available Technology Not Entailing Excessive Cost), as specified in the EPA Act 1992.

The EPA developed BATNEEC guidance notes for most industrial sectors even though many of these remained in draft format

Meanwhile the EU was getting its act together by producing BREF (Bat REFerence) documents, organized through the IPPC Bureau in Seville. These BREF documents (current versions available here are the product of a series of meetings between industry and regulatory representative chaired by the bureau. Many of the originally produced BREF documents are currently being revised as part of a rolling programme of updates.

The Protection of the Environment Act 2003 brought Irish legislation into line with the IPPC Directive by moving from BATNEEC to BAT (this has no practical implications as ‘available’ includes a cost element). The EPA decided to develop Ireland specific versions of these BREF documents as BAT Guidance Notes and these are available here