In search of the best practicable BPEO

The concepts of the "best practicable environmental option" (BPEO) and "best available techniques not entailing excessive cost" (BATNEEC) are central pillars of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, but arguments continue to rage over how they can be applied in practice. HM Inspectorate of Pollution (HMIP) has increasingly accepted industry's case for a flexible, non-prescriptive approach featuring a large dose of "expert judgement". But its planned BPEO assessment methodology continues to arouse strong opposition, particularly from the fine chemicals industry. And it now appears increasingly unlikely that the proposals will force industry to consider the full range of process options - threatening to blunt the drive towards inherently cleaner processes.

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