These regulations amend a range of EU legislation concerning air quality that will be retained as UK law after Brexit.
The changes are needed to ensure the amended legislation continues to operate correctly. Legislation amended concerns pollutant release and transfer reporting, large combustion plant, industrial emissions and best available techniques for permitted installations.
Under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, all existing EU legislation will be transferred to the UK statute book and retained as UK law on the date the UK leaves the EU (exit day)
On exit day, the Air Quality (Miscellaneous Amendment and Revocation of Retained Direct EU Legislation) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 will amend a range of retained EU legislation concerning air quality.
What will be updated?
Amendments by the 2018 regulations aim to ensure that air quality legislation will continue to operate effectively following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
Cross references to EU legislation, EU institutions and EU administrative processes are changed to domestic equivalents.
European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (EPRTR)
The European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (EPRTR) Regulation (EC) No 166/2006 established a European electronic database for installations undertaking the activities listed in Annex I to report emissions and waste generation. This EU Regulation implemented the UNECE Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers, which has been ratified by the UK and will continue to apply after it leaves the EU.
The 2018 amendment amends this legislation to establish a UK-only pollution release and transfer register. Installations will continue to be required to report into this register.
Best Available Technique Conclusions (BATC)
BATC Decisions apply mandatory minimum requirements that must be met for permitted installations. 14 BATC documents will be amended to update references and definitions to ensure they continue to operate after the UK leaves the EU.
Decision (EU) 2018/1135 required authorities in the UK to report information on permitted installations to the European Commission. The 2018 amendment requires that reporting by authorities continues, but is directed to the Secretary of State in England, Welsh Ministers in Wales, Scottish Ministers in Scotland and Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) in Northern Ireland.
Decision 2014/768/EU required Member States to report on refinery emissions management techniques to the European Commission. From exit day, future reporting will need to be submitted to the respective UK devolved authority.
Large Combustion Plants
Large combustion plants are those with a total rated thermal input of 50MW or greater, unless specifically excluded under Article 28 to the Industrial Emissions Directive 2010/75/EU.
Decision 2012/249/EU determined how start-up and shut-down periods are to be determined for large combustion plants. The 2018 amendment updates references to reflect that the UK will no longer be a Member State.
Transitional National Plans permit certain large combustion plants to continue to operate without meeting the more stringent emissions limits under Annex V of the Industrial Emissions Directive 2010/75/EU until 2020. Decision 2012/115/EU set out rules for these plans and the 2018 amendment removes duties, including reporting, regarding the EU from exit day.
Air Quality Standards
Air quality monitoring and the reporting of data is required to be undertaken in accordance with Decision 2011/850/EU. The 2018 amendment requires that reporting by authorities continues, but is directed to the Secretary of State in England, Welsh Ministers in Wales, Scottish Ministers in Scotland and Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) in Northern Ireland.
Decision 2004/279/EC, which provides guidance on the development of short-term action plans to address ozone in ambient air, will be amended to refer to UK legislation and authorities on exit day.
The 2018 amendment will amend Decision (EU) 2018/1522, which set a mandatory format for national air pollution control programmes under the National Emissions Ceilings Directive (EU) 2016/2284. The amendments made on exit day will retain this format, but reflect that the UK will not longer by an EU Member State and references to EUR (€) will be replaced with £.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in Paints and Varnishes
Decision 2015/6674/EU required Member States to report five-yearly on actions taken to limit VOC emissions from the use of organic solvents in paints and varnishes.
The 2018 amendment retains the reporting duty, but requires that authorities report this information to the respective national authority within the UK.
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