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Brussels, 8 July 2010

Statement by Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for the Environment, welcoming the Parliament's vote on the Commission proposal for a new Directive on industrial emissions

"This is a significant step forward in industrial pollution control. The Parliament has voted for a system that is clearer, more effective and more efficient than the present legislative framework. It will have a major impact in reducing premature deaths and environmental problems linked to air quality, and it will stimulate eco-innovation. The vote should seal a deal that will improve environmental protection and the enforceability of current legislation. This is something that the Commission has aimed for since the original proposal in 2007, and I am happy to see that these goals have been maintained"

Parliament was voting on the proposed revision of the Directive on industrial emissions. The improvements will mean that all EU citizens are offered the same level of protection from industrial emissions, whilst industry benefits from a more level playing field. Under the new proposals, Best Available Techniques (BAT) will be used to prevent and minimise pollution, in a continual effort to achieve the highest environmental standards.

Application of Best Available Techniques strengthened

Yesterday's agreement maintains, and in many cases improves the key aspects of the proposal put forward by the Commission on 21 December 2007. At the core of the Commission proposal is the strengthening of the application of Best Available Techniques (BAT), making BAT Conclusions the reference point in the permitting process. These have evolved from an inclusive information exchange process including Member States, industry and other stakeholders and this process will now be enhanced under the new legislation.

The Commission believes that the BAT Conclusions are of fundamental importance in delivering implementation of BAT in a clear, enforceable, and transparent manner and this is a view clearly shared by the Parliament.

Reducing emissions from the energy sector

The proposal revises the minimum emission limits that apply to large combustion plants across the EU to bring them in line with BAT. The benefits of such changes are significant - 7-28 billion per year including the reduction of premature deaths by 13 000 per annum.

Yesterday's vote confirms the need for these plants to substantially reduce their emissions whilst providing the flexibility necessary to ensure the short and long term security of energy supply within the EU.

Improving the tools for Member States and the Commission to ensure compliance

Today's vote includes a number of improved mechanisms for Member States to measure and ensure compliance with the legislation. In particular measures related to monitoring, reporting and inspections, improving public access to information and achieving greater consistency in enforcement regimes across the EU will help to ensure that we achieve the level of environmental protection that our citizens deserve.

Next steps

The ordinary legislative procedure will conclude with a vote in the Council and the entry into force of the Directive by the end of 2010.

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