The IPPC Directive as a Driver for Eco-efficiency. Environmental permitting in British, Danish, Dutch, Finnish and Swedish dairy industry

University essay from Lunds universitet/Internationella miljöinstitutet

Abstract: The role of environmental permits as a driver for environmental improvements has been a topic of debate for a while. Many permitting regulations were designed in the 1970's and have not been updated since then. Consequently, they have acted mostly as a driver for the adoption of pollution control technologies. Some experts now see that appropriately designed and implemented environmental permitting regulations have a substantial potential to drive improvements in the operation of industrial installations, whereas others consider permitting as a means to force the worst performers to act. Ever since the IPPC (Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control) Directive on the environmental permitting of large industrial installations was being planned in the first half of 1990?s, its role as a driver for improvements has been discussed. This thesis explores the IPPC Directive as a driver for eco-efficiency of the dairy industry in five European countries. A minority of dairies in Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK have been permitted, according to the IPPC at the time of writing and there are already interesting signs on what the outcomes may be. In this thesis, environmental permitting is seen as a process and the IPPC Directive is investigated from the perspective of this process. The permitting process includes everything that is connected to the environmental permit, from the perspective of a company that applies for a permit. The thesis explores whether the permitting process encourages the companies to become more eco-efficient and a study framework is created to assess the permitting process as a driver for eco-efficiency. For example, challenging permit conditions and information on opportunities can motivate the companies to improve eco-efficiency. Eco-efficiency ?- a combination of good economic and environmental performance ? was chosen to be the focus of the study due to the nature of the main environmental aspects of the dairy industry. All of the sector's major environmental aspects are related to efficient use of resources (energy, water and raw material use and related wastewater issues) and improvements in environmental performance are thus irectly connected to business benefits. The design of the IPPC Directive, features of its implementation and actors who influence the permitting process are investigated in the thesis. Also, a few dairy plants? permits are studied from each country. The effectiveness of the implementation process is assessed and conclusions are drawn, both on the extent of the possible improvements in eco-efficiency and the environmental aspects that are likely to be influenced. In order to facilitate a more favorable outcome, some improvements to the implementation of the IPPC Directive are suggested.

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