Industrial emissions: Council signs off on updated rules to better protect the environment

The Council adopted the revised directive on industrial emissions (IED) and the regulation on the establishment of an industrial emissions portal (IEP), two complementary pieces of legislation aimed at regulating and monitoring the environmental impact of industrial activities.

The new rules will offer better protection of human health and the environment by reducing harmful emissions from industrial installations, while promoting energy efficiency, a circular economy and decarbonisation.

They will also improve environmental data reporting by upgrading the existing European pollutant release and transfer register (E-PRTR) in order to establish a more comprehensive and integrated industrial emissions portal.

Wider scope for less industrial emissions

The industrial emissions directive is the main EU instrument regulating pollution from industrial installations including intensive livestock farms. Installations regulated by the already existing directive – including power plants, refineries and waste treatment – account for approximately 40% of greenhouse gas emissions and for 20% of pollutant emissions into air and water.

In order to further reduce industrial emissions, the revised directive bring more large-scale intensive livestock farms, including pig and poultry farms, into its scope. Mining activities and large-scale manufacturing of batteries are also added into the scope of the directive: subject to a review by the Commission, the scope may be extended to industrial minerals as well.

Less red tape through e-permits

Permits are necessary for installations as these need to prove their compliance with the current rules on reducing industrial emissions, including appropriate measures and emission limit values.

The new directive will make the issuance of permitting more efficient and less burdensome, for instance by introducing an obligation for member states to establish an electronic permit system (e-permit) by 2035.

Effective enforcement and penalties

Member states will establish effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties in case of non-compliance with the directive. For serious infringements, operators may be required to pay penalties up to at least 3% of their annual Union turnover.

The directive also introduces the right for individuals whose health has been affected to claim compensation from those who infringe the directive.

Information and public participation 

The regulation formally adopted today establishes a new portal for more comprehensive and integrated information on industrial emissions, replacing the existing European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (E-PRTR).

With regard to the Green Deal’s zero pollution ambition, the new portal will enhance public access to information related to industrial emissions and facilitate public participation in environmental decision-making, including the identification of pollution sources.

Next steps

The directive on industrial emissions will now be signed and published in the Official Journal of the EU. It will enter into force on the twentieth day following publication. Following that date, EU member states will have up to 22 months to incorporate the provisions of the directive into their national legislation.

In 2028 (and every five years thereafter), the Commission will review and assess the implementation of the directive, taking into account emerging techniques. Additionally, by 2026, the Commission must assess how to best address the emissions generated from cattle farming and from agricultural products placed on the EU market.

After its publication in the Official Journal of the EU, the regulation on the new industrial emissions portal will become binding and directly applicable in all member states from 2028.

Source: Council of the EU | Press release (