On April 12, 2024, the European Council approved the revision of the Industrial Emissions Directive (“IED”) and the regulation for the establishment of the Industrial Emissions Portal (“IEP”), two complementary legal frameworks aimed at regulating and monitoring the environmental impact of industrial activities.

The European Green Deal necessitates revised European Union (“EU”) measures against pollution from large industrial installations. On April 5, 2022, the European Commission proposed changes to the Industrial Emissions Directive, initially adopted in 2010, along with a parallel and complementary proposal amending the European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (“E-PRTR”), which was first adopted in 2006.

The new rules aim to reduce harmful emissions from industrial installations to better protect human health and the environment while promoting energy efficiency, circular economy, and decarbonization.

By establishing a renewed and integrated industrial emissions portal, the goal is to improve environmental data reporting by updating the existing E-PRTR.

The IED is the primary legislation that regulates significant pollution from industrial installations, including livestock farms. The facilities currently covered by the existing directive account for about 40% of greenhouse gas emissions and 20% of pollutants released into air and water, including power plants, oil refineries, and waste management.

The revision of the IED extends its scope to large-scale intensive livestock farms, particularly pig and poultry farms, to further reduce industrial emissions. Additionally, mining activities and large-scale battery production are also being added to the scope of the directive. An assessment to be conducted by the European Commission could further extend the scope to industrial minerals.

The new directive requires Member States to establish an electronic permitting system (e-permit) by 2035. Permits are necessary to ensure that facilities demonstrate compliance with current industrial emission reduction rules, including appropriate measures and emission limit values.

Implementation and Penalties

Member States will set effective, proportionate, and dissuasive penalties for violations of the directive. In cases of serious violations, operators could face financial penalties of up to at least 3% of their annual EU turnover.

The IED also provides individuals whose health is affected by activities under the directive the right to seek compensation from those who violate the directive.

Information and Public Participation

The regulation, officially approved on April 12, 2024, establishes a new portal to provide more comprehensive and integrated information on industrial emissions. This portal is designed to replace the existing E-PRTR.

In line with the European Green Deal’s net-zero target, the new portal will increase public access to information about industrial emissions and facilitate public participation in environmental decision-making processes, including identifying pollution sources.

Next Steps

Following the signing of the IED, it will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union. It will enter into force on the twentieth day after its publication. From that date, EU Member States have 22 months to incorporate the directive’s provisions into their national legislation.

Additionally, in 2028 and periodically every five years thereafter, the European Commission will evaluate the implementation of the directive, review its effectiveness, and make necessary revisions to address emerging technical issues.

Furthermore, the European Commission is required to assess by 2026 how to address emissions from livestock and agricultural products entering the EU market. Once published in the Official Journal of the European Union, the new industrial emissions portal regulation will become binding and directly applicable in all Member States from 2028.