The UK Government, and the devolved administrations, are putting in place a new regime for the development of ‘Best Available Techniques’ (BAT) that prevents and minimises impact on the environment from UK industry.
Those companies in the metals sector with industrial installations undertaking specific types of activity are already required to use ‘Best Available Techniques’ methodology to reduce emissions to air, water and land, and the consultation document outlines how this will change now that the UK has left the EU.
The Trade Associations that make up the UK Metals Council, UKMC, have considered the government’s new proposal and provided detailed feedback to the consultation.
The proposed approach considers the technology used and the way the manufacturing installations are designed, built, maintained, operated and decommissioned. ‘BAT’ are used to determine the types of abatement technologies and methods that operators should put in place, as well as setting emission limits associated with the use of ‘BAT’ within environmental permits. The BATs should be those that are proven to be economically and technically viable, while being the best to minimise or ideally prevent emissions that will impact the environment as a whole.
The consultation proposes a number of new elements in the BAT process. These include the possibility of different BAT emissions levels in the different nations of the UK, as well as introducing public consultations on the outcome of the process.
In response to the consultation Chris McDonald, UKMC Chair and CEO of the Materials Processing Institute said, “Our Members welcome the opportunity to be consulted on issues such as BAT legislation and we recognise the far-reaching implications for the sector. We will embrace the opportunity to work together with Government bodies to ensure UK metal manufacturing is sustainable, economically viable and meets realistic environmental emissions targets.
“In order to achieve this, we need to minimise bureaucracy, stabilise policy and ensure UK manufacturers are allowed to compete in the global marketplace on a level playing field across the whole of the UK. We urge the government to support the metals sector’s recovery following the covid pandemic and safeguard jobs in the strategically important metals sector. This will be best achieved by considering environmental impacts holistically, together with the wider economic and strategic contribution the metals sector makes to the overall UK economy.
“The sector is very diverse, ranging from large multinationals, producing primary raw materials, to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) located all around the UK, and supplying near net shape components and other value added services into the UK’s manufacturing supply chain, so there is a clear opportunity for the sector to play a key part in ‘building back better’. Additionally, there is a significant supply chain associated with the recovery, re-cycling and re-use of metals which is an increasingly important part of the UK’s circular economy and which can play a key role in our sovereign capability and supply of critical materials.
Dr Pam Murrell, Chief Executive Officer of the Cast Metals Federation, one of the Trade Association members of the UKMC added, “We urge the Government to introduce new environmental legislation that uses sound scientific principles and current relevant data in order to ensure a proportionate response and appropriate time scale for implementation. We further request that the devolved UK governments agree to a common set of standards, thereby reducing the complexity placed on UK manufacturing organisations coping with the effects of Brexit and economic recovery. We have a responsibility to ensure we are not exporting our carbon footprint and we will work with all agencies to help ensure that the UK can meet its Net Zero targets.”