New emissions, monitoring and efficiency standards will help national authorities to lower the environmental impact of the food, drink and milk (FDM) sector in the EU, which represents around 290 000 companies and more than 4 million jobs.
The new specifications stem from a review of the Best Available Techniques (BAT) Reference Document (BREF) for Food, Drink and Milk Industries.
The review’s BAT conclusions were published in the Official Journal of the EU on 4 December 2019.
Beyond their importance to the European food sector, these BAT conclusions also play an important role in achieving EU environmental policy goals, such as reducing emissions to water and to air, and contribute to the circular economy by increasing resource efficiency.
Best available techniques – basis to set permit conditions for industrial installations
The BAT conclusions provide national authorities with the technical basis with which to set permit conditions for industrial installations.
While the principal aim of these BAT conclusions is to reduce emissions from FDM installations including noise and odour, other environmental issues contributing to the circular economy – such as energy efficiency, resource efficiency, waste, water consumption and waste water discharge – are also covered.
Moreover, there are BAT conclusions for the prevention and reduction of the use of harmful substances, with a provision for the use of refrigerants without ozone depletion potential and with a low global warming potential.
The document contains 37 individual BAT conclusions.
- 4 cover general aspects including environmental management and monitoring practices,
- 8 relate to energy efficiency,
- 3 to resource efficiency,
- 2 to harmful substances,
- 2 to water consumption and waste water discharge,
- 3 to waste,
- 10 to emissions to air,
- 2 to emissions to water,
- 1 to odour and
- 2 to noise.
BAT-associated emission levels and indicative environmental performance levels
The BAT conclusions include BAT-associated emission levels which have the potential, through their translation into emission limits, to drive a sizeable reduction in emissions from the FDM sector.
Compared with the existing standards, the new BAT conclusions deliver a reinforced level of protection, with particular emphasis on emissions to water and to air, and on energy and water consumption.
Close to 2 800 existing FDM installations (first permitted before the publication of the BAT conclusions) have 4 years to comply with the new standards.
New installations (first permitted after the publication of the BAT conclusions) need to comply immediately with the new requirements.
The BAT conclusions also include indicative environmental performance levels for energy consumption and waste water discharge.
Emissions to water
For water, the BAT conclusions focus on techniques to maximise water savings and optimise the use of water, as well as on waste water treatment techniques used to reduce pollutant concentrations in the effluent.
BAT-associated emission levels are set including for chemical oxygen demand, total suspended solids, total nitrogen and total phosphorus.
Emissions to air
For emissions to air, the BAT conclusions address a number of techniques to reduce the emission of pollutants into air from different FDM sectors.
BAT-associated emission levels are set for pollutants including dust and total volatile organic compounds.
There are important improvements in monitoring emissions to air, in particular measuring various pollutants with a minimum monitoring frequency.
Energy consumption and waste water discharge
A total of 19 indicative environmental performance levels for energy consumption and 15 levels for waste water discharge have been set for 10 FDM sectors, namely animal feed, brewing, dairies, fruit and vegetables, grain milling, meat processing, oilseed processing and vegetable oil refining, soft drinks and nectar/juice made from processed fruit and vegetables, starch production, and sugar manufacturing.
Best available techniques – background information
The Industrial Emissions Directive provides a framework for regulating about 50 000 industrial installations across the EU.
It requires these installations to hold a permit based on the use of Best Available Techniques.
An EU-level process establishes BAT reference documents and BAT conclusions.
BAT conclusions aim to achieve a high level of protection of the environment as a whole, taking into account economic and technical viability.
They not only cover emission levels and other environmental performance aspects of several (production) techniques, but also include standards for how the technology is used and the way in which the installation is designed, built, maintained, operated and decommissioned. BAT conclusions also address monitoring associated with BAT (monitoring methods and frequency).
The process for production and adoption of BAT Reference Documents and their conclusions is known as the Sevilla process.