European BAT Reference Documents (BREFs)


The IPPC-Directive (96/61/EC - codified 2008/1/EG) has introduced a framework requiring EU member states to issue operating permits for industrial installations performing activities as described in its Annex 1.  These permits must contain conditions that are based on Best Available Techniques (BAT), and aim at achieving a high level of protection of the environment as a whole. 

A key feature of the IPPC-Directive  is to stimulate an intensive exchange of information on Best Available Techniques between the European Member States and the industries considered.  For the activities of Annex 1 of the Directive, the European IPPC-Bureau organizes this exchange of information and produces BAT reference documents (BREFs).  Member States are required to take these BREFs into account when determining permit conditions for 'Annex 1'-type installations.  The Bureau carries out its work through Technical Working Groups (TWGs) comprising nominated experts from EU Member States, EFTA Countries, industry, and environmental NGOs. 

The European IPPC-Bureau is located in Sevilla, Spain.  For this reason, we refer to the activities carried out within the framework of the IPPC-Directive as 'the Sevilla process'.


Cement and Lime production Finalised (2nd version)
Ceramics Finalised
Chlor-Alkali manufacture Finalised, review in progress
Common waste water and waste gas treatment and management systems in the chemical sector Finalised, review in progress
Cooling systems   Finalised, review in progress
Economic and cross media issues under IPPC Finalised
Emissions from storage of bulk or dangerous materials Finalised
Energy efficiency Finalised
Ferrous metal processing Finalised, review in progress
Food, drink and milk processes Finalised
Glass manufacture Finalised, review in progress
Intensive rearing of poultry and pigs Finalised, review in progress
Iron and steel production Finalised, review in progress
Large combustion plant Finalised
Large volume inorganic chemicals - Ammonia, acids & fertilisers Finalised
Large volume inorganic chemicals - Solid & others Finalised
Large volume organic chemicals Finalised, review in progress
Management of tailings and waste rock in mining activities Finalised
Monitoring systems Finalised, review in progress
Non-ferrous metal processes Finalised
Organic fine chemicals Finalised
Polymers Finalised
Pulp and paper manufacture Finalised, review in progress
Refineries Finalised, review in progress
Slaughterhouses and animal by-products Finalised
Smitheries and foundries Finalised
Speciality inorganic chemicals Finalised
Surface treatment of metals and plastics Finalised
Surface treatments using solvents Finalised
Tanning of hides and skins Finalised, review in progress
Textile processing Finalised, review in progress
Waste incineration Finalised
Waste treatments Finalised


The IPPC-process in the Flemish Region

The implementation of the IPPC-Directive is followed by an IPPC-taskforce within the Flemish administration of environment. In this taskforce all players that are involved in permit writing, advice and inspection are represented, as well as Vito's BAT-centre.

The BAT-centre represents the Flemish authorities in the European exchange of information on BAT (the so-called Sevilla process). It participates in the Information Exchange Forum (IEF) and delegates sector experts to the technical working groups of the BREFs. Until recently (Jan '04), a detached national expert from Vito worked in the European IPPC Bureau.

About 1200 IPPC-installations have been identified in the Flemish region.

The implementation of BAT as described in the BREFs is supported by the use of BREF-checklists. These checklists are made up by the BAT-centre and serve as a guideline for discussion between the operator and the permit writer. The checklists list all BAT-techniques that are described in the BAT-chapter of the BREF, together with the associated emission levels. The goal is to check whether individual plants already apply the mentioned techniques and/or whether their emissions comply with the BAT associated levels. The filled-out list is a starting point to decide whether further actions are needed. This may result in a revision of the permit.
Chekclists are a valuable instrument to check compliance with the BREF on an installation basis. They are used in Belgium in the permitting of IPPC installations. Other countries have followed this example. As an example the checklist for Cold Rolling Mills, as taken from the BREF Ferrous Metals Processing, can be found here .


The application of BAT is an important pillar of the Flemish environmental legislation. The "Vlaamse Navigator Milieuwetgeving" is a legal expertsystem to help you find your way in this legislation. Since 2002 a basic English version is available.  In addition, the IPPC-Directive can be found here .


 After finalisation of a BREF document, BAT and emerging techniques for the sector are translated and transposed into a BAT checklist (in Dutch). The list is set-up by the BAT-centre and discussed in the IPPC-taskforce, before it is published on the internet. The list is divided into 7 topics:

  • pollution prevention
  • minimisation of air and water pollution
  • measures for other than normal working conditions
  • prevention and reduction of waste
  • energy efficiency
  • prevention of accidents
  • decommissioning

The list gives a short description of each technique, its applicability and a reference to the corresponding paragraph in the BREF. Three fields are added in which the applicability of the technique and its results are evaluated for the installation under consideration:

  • applicability: gives checkboxes to indicate whether the technique applies to the installation
  • application: allows to indicate whether the technique is already in place, or planned by a specified date
  • environmental benefit: allows to indicate e.g. emission loads before and after application of the technique

As an example the checklist for Cold Rolling Mills, as taken from the BREF Ferrous Metals Processing, can be found here .

The checklist is not used as an official document. It serves as an instrument to facilitate the discussions between the operator and the local permit writer, concerning the application of techniques. After discussion of the filled-out list, a decision needs to be taken, whether any further action is required. For this a standard decision scheme has been made up. The lists for all BREF sectors (in Dutch) can be consulted and printed on the website of the BAT-centre.


BAT centre | VITO BAT notes | European BREFs | Environmental Costing Model  

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