SEPA consultation on Waste Treatment BAT guidance

All PPC waste treatment sites will be required to assess their compliance with the BAT conclusions. To assist with this, SEPA have produced a spreadsheet and guidance document and are seeking feedback on these prior to them sending the formal notices out to operators. We have until 2nd Sept to provide feedback.

There is further information below along with some questions.We welcome any comments and happy to set up some calls with members to discuss directly if you prefer.REA intend to submit a response so early input into this by 30th August would be really useful. Please contact Jenny ([email protected]) with any comments or to discuss further.

In September, SEPA will issue information notices under the Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC) Regulations to assess compliance with the revised BAT conclusions for waste treatment processes. This will contain a spreadsheet that operators must use to supply the necessary information and will be accompanied by a guidance document.


Regulation 22 of the PPC Regulations requires that operators of PPC sites use best available techniques (BAT) to prevent or reduce emissions from their installation. BAT is defined through a process of consultation and comparison across Europe, involving Government officials and Agencies, site operators and trade bodies, and non-governmental environmental organisations. BAT is defined on a sector-by-sector basis and is made up of a combination of ‘narrative’ conclusions and emission levels. Narrative conclusions are usually an objective or statement with a description and often a list of techniques to be used. Associated Emission Levels (AELs) are placed on discharges to air or water and are presented in a range for each parameter.

Once the BAT conclusions are published, Member States have four years to make sure that all sites operate to the prescribed BAT. This is done through a process of site review and analysis, and permit review where necessary. Permit conditions are not normally required for every BAT conclusion since the regulations require that sites operate at that standard. However, some permit conditions will reflect the requirements, such as a condition requiring no odour outside the process boundary. Permits will contain the emission limits appropriate for the plant based on the process and the abatement methods used.

Where we are now?

The BAT conclusions for waste treatment were published in August 2018 after several years of work across Europe. SEPA lost almost two years of progress due to Covid and their cyberattack and  are now starting the review process.

Process and timescale

By end September 2022 SEPA will issue Further Information Notices asking operators to carry out a gap analysis of their activities using a spreadsheet, comparing them against the conclusions and identifying where they are already meeting the standard, where this either is not being met at the moment, or will not be able to be met. Interpretational guidance has also been prepared to clarify particular issues.


Mid-end November 2022 Closing date for completed gap analysis to be completed. Operators return the completed spreadsheet by the date specified in the information notice.
Dec- Feb 2023 SEPA will assess the information provided and compare it against each BAT conclusion to determine compliance. We may have further discussion with operators to clarify any issues arising.


End March 2023 Following a review there are three outcomes:

  • There is no change needed to the permit
  • The permit is varied to ensure it complies with the regulations and reflects BAT. This will be a SEPA initiated variation which has no charge. Sites have a right to appeal.
  • Enforcement action taken where the permit holder cannot comply with the permit or BAT


Consultation feedback

When considering the spreadsheet and guidance, we would particularly like your feedback on:

  • What was your first impression of the documents and did this change as you read through them?
  • Is the format of the guidance and spreadsheet intuitive? Is there anything that needs to be clarified or expanded?
  • Is the information in the guidance and spreadsheet useful? Is there anything that needs clarified or expanded?
  • We will be sending the information notices out at the end of September. Other than the information above, what else would be helpful for operators in an initial e-mail? Do you think a short Teams presentation with the chance to ask questions would be useful?

Please send your response back to [email protected]by Friday 2 September, any please send comments for the REA response to [email protected] by 30th August.