Industrial Emissions Directive

FuelsEurope supports the IED as the policy tool that regulate emissions from industrial sites to the air and water in particular and contribute to deliver continuing improvements in environmental performance. However, the new standards set by the Refining BREF will be extremely challenging and costly for the sector. Therefore, implementation must be carried out in a manner that does not unnecessarily impair the competitiveness of the EU refining sector.


The IED Directive regulates emissions of about 50,000 industrial installations across the EU through the establishment of sector-specific BREF (BAT REFerence document) containing information about the sector and the latest emission control techniques used. The key chapter of the BREF, the BAT Conclusions, is then passed as secondary legislation. BATs cover both the technology used and the way in which the installation is designed, built, maintained, operated and decommissioned. It aims at achieving a high level of environmental protection under economically and technically viable conditions.

The European Commission adopted an implementing decision on 9 October 2014 establishing best available techniques (BAT) conclusions for refining mineral oil and gas, under the IED – Directive 2010/75/EU, the so-called REF BREF.

The binding BAT Conclusions include BAT Associated Emission Levels (BAT-AELs) which shall be the reference for authorities in Member States to set permit conditions for operators through Emission Limit Values (ELVs).

The BAT conclusions for refineries include emission levels of various individual metal compounds or total suspended solids emissions to water; they set emissions levels of nitrogen oxides and sulphur dioxide to air, depending on the combustion mode of the fluid catalytic cracking process; and they set emission standards for non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC) and benzene for storage and handling processes. The BAT conclusions also include the integrated emission management technique for NOX and SO2 from several process and combustion units within a site, as an alternative to the unit-by-unit BAT-AELs approach. This allows for refineries to achieve cost-effective overall reductions, based on the specific characteristics of that site.

IED evaluation

In 2019, the European Commission started to assess how the IED is working and the degree to which its intended impacts have been achieved, based on the five main criteria: effectiveness, efficiency, relevance, coherence, and added value.

IED revision

In 2020, as a contribution to the EU Green Deal related zero pollution ambition for a toxic-free environment, the European Commission initiated the process to revise the IED through the publication of an inception impact assessment. FuelsEurope contributed to the consultation process (here). In 2021, the Commission has continued the revision process through further consultations, stakeholder workshops as well as focus groups. FuelsEurope has provided a response to the joint Open Public Consultation on the IED and the E-PRTR[1] Revision with technical support from Concawe, whilst also ensuring alignment with the key messages shared by the Industrial Emissions Alliance (IEA) on industry decarbonisation.

[1] European Pollutant Release and Transfer Registry