We seek to safeguard the quality of the environment through effective regulation of activities that have the potential to impact on air, water and land. This involves engagement with businesses and the public to provide information and advice; monitoring, recording, reporting and setting standards for compliance; issuing consents, licences, permits and authorisations and enforcing legislation.
The Industrial Emissions Directive (IED)
Directive 2010/75/EU on industrial emission (integrated pollution prevention and control), known as 'the IED' has been brought into effect by the Pollution Prevention and Control (Industrial Emissions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013 ('The Regulations').
The IED is a recast of seven previous European Comission Directives covering industrial emissions. A review of these resulted in the merging of the seven existing Directives to ensure clearer environmental benefits and consistent application of Best Available Techniques (BAT) across Member States are achieved. Greater emphasis on the role of BAT reference documents (Brefs) is encouraged and there is extended scope and provisions on soil and groundwater protection. IED also promotes cost-effectiveness and encourages technological innovation to help deliver greater environmental benefit.
Pre 2013 the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) Directive required an integrated approach to the permitting of, and ongoing regulation of, scheduled activities. The requirements of the Directive were similar to those on processes subject to integrated central control under the Industrial Pollution Control (Northern Ireland) Order 1997, with two important differences: the Directive applied an integrated approach to a wider range of activities and it required that a wider range of environmental issues were taken into account, such as noise, energy efficiency, site condition, raw material usage. Permits issued under these Regulations remain valid until 7th January 2014.
The Industrial Pollution and Radiochemical Inspectorate (IPRI) is responsible for controlling the keeping and use of radioactive material and the disposal of radioactive waste under the Radioactive Substances Act 1993. Certificates of Registration are issued to permit the keeping and use of radioactive material and Certificates of Authorisation are used to permit the accumulation and disposal of radioactive waste. IPRI enforces the statutory control of the transport of radioactive material.
The European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS)
The EU ETS is the largest multi-country, multi-sector greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme in the world. It includes approxiamately 11,000 installations (excluding aviation) accounting for 45 per cent of EU carbon dioxide emissions.
The EU ETS has three operational phases:
- Phase I (1 January 2005 to 31 December 2007) was an initial learning by doing phase and is now complete. Aviation was not covered in this phase.
- Phase II (1 January 2008 to 31 December 2012) included revised monitoring and reporting rules, more stringent emissions caps and additional combustion sources. Aviation sources were covered from 2010.This phase is now complete
- Phase III (1 January 2013 to 31 December 2020) This will see the harmonisation of EU wide allocation methodologies and covers additional greenhouse gases and emissions sources. Small emitters and hospitals and choose to be excluded from certain EU ETS obligations.