Protection of the Environment Act 2003

Amendment of section 5 of Act of 1992.

7.—The following section is substituted for section 5 of the Act of 1992:

“Best available techniques.

5.—(1) A reference in this Act to best available techniques shall be construed as a reference to the most effective and advanced stage in the development of an activity and its methods of operation, which indicate the practical suitability of particular techniques for providing, in principle, the basis for emission limit values designed to prevent or eliminate or, where that is not practicable, generally to reduce an emission and its impact on the environment as a whole.

(2) In subsection (1)—

(a) ‘best’, in relation to techniques, means the most effective in achieving a high general level of protection of the environment as a whole;

(b) ‘available techniques’ means those techniques developed on a scale which allows implementation in the relevant class of activity specified in the First Schedule, under economically and technically viable conditions, taking into consideration the costs and advantages, whether or not the techniques are used or produced within the State, as long as they are reasonably accessible to the person carrying on the activity;

(c) ‘techniques’ includes both the technology used and the way in which the installation is designed, built, managed, maintained, operated and decommissioned.

(3) (a) For the purposes of subsection (1), the Agency—

(i)   may from time to time as occasion requires, and

(ii)   shall in accordance with any regulations made by the Minister,

specify best available techniques to provide, in principle, the basis for emission limit values for an activity or activities of a particular class or description, and regard shall be had in the administration of this Act to any such specifications. The Agency, in preparing any such specification, may, by publication of a notice in such manner as it thinks appropriate, invite submissions or observations to be made to it in relation to the terms of the proposed specification.

(b) In specifying best available techniques in accordance with paragraph (a) or otherwise determining best available techniques for the purposes of this Act, the Agency shall, having regard to the likely costs and advantages of measures and to the principles of precaution and prevention, consider in particular—

(i)   the use of low-waste technology,

(ii)   the use of less hazardous substances,

(iii) the furthering of recovery and recycling of substances generated and used in the process and of waste, where appropriate,

(iv) comparable processes, facilities or methods of operation, which have been tried with success on an industrial scale,

(v)   technological advances and changes in scientific knowledge and understanding,

(vi) the nature, effects and volume of the emissions concerned,

(vii) the commissioning dates for new or existing activities,

(viii) the length of time needed to introduce the best available techniques,

(ix) the consumption and nature of raw materials (including water) used in the process and their energy efficiency,

(x) the need to prevent or reduce to a minimum the overall impact of the emissions on the environment and the risks to it,

(xi) the need to prevent accidents and to minimise the consequences for the environment, and

(xii) the information published by the Commission of the European Communities pursuant to any exchange of information between Member States and the industries concerned on best available techniques, associated monitoring, and developments in them, or by international organisations,

and such other matters as may be prescribed.

(4) Whenever the Agency prepares a specification under subsection (3), it shall, as soon as may be, cause—

(a) a copy of such specification to be sent to the Minister, each local authority, An Bord Pleanála and such other bodies, if any, as may be prescribed,

(b) notice of the preparation of the specification to be published in Iris Oifigiúil,

(c) notice of the preparation of the specification to be given to every person who made to the Agency submissions or observations concerning the specification in response to an invitation of the Agency made under subsection (3)(a), and

(d) a copy of the specification to be made available to every person who makes application for such a copy on payment of such fee (if any) as the Agency shall fix not exceeding the reasonable cost of making such a copy.”.