EU proposes tougher pollution rules for industry, livestock farms


EU proposes tougher pollution rules for industry, livestock farms


The European Commission presented on Tuesday proposals to update Industrial Emissions Directive, a critical legislation to help control industrial pollution. Under the guidelines, factories and mines in Europe would be subject to stricter pollution limitations in order to obtain permits to operate. The rules would also limit planet-warming emissions from livestock farms.

According to the European Union's estimations, industrial pollution damages nature and hurts human health, costing Europe billions of euros and resulting in hundreds of thousands of premature deaths each year.

To better combat climate crisis, Brussels proposed on Tuesday an overhaul to EU pollution standards that would apply to 30,000 industrial facilities, including power plants, waste incineration sites, landfills, and cement factories, as well as 20,000 livestock farms.

The new guidelines require governments to only issue licenses to facilities that fulfill waste disposal standards and harmful gas emission limitations such as sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides.

To ensure economic growth, companies and governments have a history of enforcing the least stringent regulations, with 80% of industrial permits using the least stringent emission caps allowed under the rules. Authorities must enforce the “strictest possible emission limit values,” according to the new proposal.

The new guidelines include cattle ranching for the first time in the legislation, as well as more pig and poultry farms, bringing the coverage of animal methane emissions from 3% to 43%. The move is also expected to result in reductions in methane emissions of 265kt per year.

Furthermore, about 850 sites for extracting industrial minerals in Europe such as nickel and lithium, as well as large-scale battery facilities would also be regulated.

According to EU’s regulation, these updates must be agreed by EU member states and the European Parliament, and they are unlikely to apply to new industries until 2027.

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