BAT – Best Available Techniques

It is a fundamental requirement that polluting installations must limit the pollution they cause insofar as is possible by using the Best Available Techniques (BAT).

For the types of installation that are covered by the European approval scheme for industrial emissions (the IE Directive, formerly the IPPC Directive), the European Commission will distribute “BAT reference documents” (BREF documents), which set out what are considered to be the best available techniques within the industrial sectors covered by the directive.

Each BREF document is summarised with BAT conclusions, which set out what the BAT (best available techniques) are for the sector, including the emission levels that the installations must achieve.

The BAT conclusions must be used when establishing the conditions issued in the environmental permits in industrial installations and large poultry and pig farms.

The BREF documents can be found on the European Commission’s website.

There are currently 33 BREF documents. Six are cross-sector, e.g. concerning energy efficiency, and are common to the sectors, whilst 27 cover different types of activity, so that virtually all sectors in Annex 1 to the IE Directive (with the exception of waste disposal) are covered by a BREF document. With the entry into force of the IED, a further two BREF documents will be prepared, making a total of 35, and other documents will also have their scope expanded. It is the European Commission’s intention that a BREF document should be revised every eight years.

In Denmark, the industry’s composition is such that 28 of the BREF documents are currently applicable. Of these, the BREF for pig and poultry farms is the most widely represented, with around 1,200 farms in Denmark.