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17.10.2012 COMMISSION PUBLISHES STUDY ON BASELINE

EURELECTRIC DAILY NEWS
17 October 2012, by Hélène Lavray
COMMISSION PUBLISHES STUDY ON BASELINE REPORTING FOR INDUSTRIAL SITE CLOSURE

In a report commissioned by DG Environment to inform Commission Guidance on the content of the baseline
report requested under Article 22 of the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED), consultants AMEC concluded that the guidance should clarify the terminology used in Article 22 IED, focus on how to decide when a baseline report is needed and provide further detail on the purpose, scope and content of the baseline report. The fact that there are significant differences between the approaches taken by member states supports the need for informative EU-wide guidance.

Directive 2010/75/EU on industrial emissions was formally adopted on 24 November 2010 and came into force on 7
January 2011. It consolidates and revises seven directives related to industrial emissions, including the Integrated
Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) Directive and sectoral directives such as the ones governing large combustion
plants or waste incineration. Article 22 is devoted to site closures and sets a number of key requirements, in particular
the preparation of a baseline report. This report should contain information on the state of the soil and groundwater
and should be submitted to competent authorities prior to the beginning of activities or, for sites with a permit, before
their permit is updated for the first time after 7 January 2013 (the end of the transposition period of the IED into
national legislation). The IED obliges the operator to return the site to the state outlined in the baseline report.
The AMEC report aims at supporting the Commission in developing guidance on the content of the baseline report.
This guidance must be developed in a context where such guidance and reporting requirements already exist in
member states, with significant variation. The report highlights certain complexities related to definitions (e.g.:
“contamination”, existing information on soil and groundwater or new measurements “where available”) or
evaluation of risk.
Another key element concerns how to decide whether a baseline report should be prepared. The report finds that
establishing whether an installation uses, produces or releases hazardous substances should be relatively simple.
However, finding out whether these substances could possibly contaminate soil and groundwater is not
straightforward: there is no agreed threshold that could be used and such assessments are made on a case-by-case
basis. The report suggests two possibilities: obliging all operators using, producing or releasing hazardous substances
to submit a baseline report, or leave the definition up to member states. While the first option could be considered
disproportionate compared with the risks, the latter may lead to different implementation of Article 22 IED across the
EU.
The report further explores requirements for operators to make new measurements if sufficiently reliable
information on soil and groundwater is not available at the time the baseline report is prepared, and in particular
sampling. The report also presents a series of principles associated with the development of the baseline report,
including the information that should be included and the technique for comparing the data once activity ceases.