New legislation on emissions creates competition conditions for industry

In November 2010, the European Union has adopted a new law on industrial emissions generated by large combustion plants all over Europe. The rules are stricter than those proposed by EC in 2007 and will bring a series of benefits to the environment, as well as significant savings through the reduction of the administrative burden providing a more level playing field for industry and the harmonised implementation of requirements concerning the technology used by operators of industrial plants.
“The vote by the Council to adopt the new Directive on industrial emissions is a milestone in industrial pollution control in the European Union. It will help ensure the level of protection from industrial pollution that EU citizens deserve. It will substantially strengthen the current legal framework further reducing air and other types of environmental pollution and become an important driver for eco-innovation”, declared Janez Potočnik, EU Commissioner for Environment.
The new directive on emissions impacts also on the railway industry which plays an important part in the fight against emissions and climate change. A competitive and sustainable industry has an essential contribution in reducing emissions. To protect the environment and help reduce emissions, promote intelligent energy consumption and create eco-innovative technologies, industry improvement programmes need implementation, both through operation activities and technological solutions. In the past years, railway undertakings have launched energy efficiency projects to cut emissions. By 2020, the railway sector plans to perform in “cutting down emissions”, with a 30% reduction that would clearly prove the commitment of the railway industry and of the railway sector towards increasing the efficiency and significantly cut emissions.
To that end, the industry has to develop new technologies to provide eco-efficient products that are believed to function at optimal levels during their entire life cycle, from production to exploitation and applied in key segments such as energy efficiency, diesel emissions and sustainability.
By developing new technologies the industry invests in projects and contributes to the establishment of a sustainable market which determines operators to buy sustainable, efficient and non-polluting products that, once put into service, will help cut maintenance costs. In turn, these projects generate investment growth and persuade transport operators to buy sustainable products in order to supply quality services.
To supply eco-friendly and non-polluting products, the railway industry needs to invest in its own new installations to help limit the emission of certain pollutants into the atmosphere. In this context, projects require investments of billions of euros and costs should be proportional with the environment performance. The return of investments is also a “must”. Also, older industrial installations will be exempted from meeting these provisions if they are expected to shut down by the end of 2023 or if they dispose of 175,000 of exploitation hours after 2016, when the EU will impose stricter limits for environment protection.
The new law on emissions will impose a permit for installations which need to be equipped with the best available techniques for improving global environment performance. The consolidation of implementing the best available techniques is a strict measure imposed by the Directive. The BAT will be used for preventing and minimising pollution, thus creating a balance of the cost-benefit report.
The same goal of reducing emissions was discussed during a debate of the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) and of the EU’s Belgian Presidency. “CER members believe that the best strategy for transport decarbonisation would be to adopt a single limit for transport emissions. This should be adopted in the context of the existing competition between transport modes”, declared CER’s Executive Director, Johannes Ludewig. However, it will be difficult, yet not impossible, to cut transport emissions by 20% until 2020 and by 50% until 2050, but for that, technical alternatives are required both in industry and in transport. “If EU takes the target of cutting emissions by 20% until 2020 seriously, then the transport sector and the industry must bring their contribution in reaching this target”, says Michael Clausecker, UNIFE’s General Director. The responsibility of promoting eco-friendly activities and implementing the related legislation elaborated by governments together with the European Commission will also receive support from transport operators and from the industry. Moreover, a foundation will be set for the industry aimed to support the investments allocated to the development of the best products and environmentally
enhanced production methods.

[ by Pamela Luică ]
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