Brussels moves to cut cost of forthcoming VOC controls

In an effort to reduce the cost of a forthcoming EC proposal to control industrial emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), the European Commission has dropped plans to oblige operators to obtain permits from the authorities, and has simplified its previous proposal to require companies to prepare solvent management plans. It has also brought the latest draft more into line with UK practice by allowing most stack emissions to be measured as total organic carbon (TOC) rather than as concentrations of individual solvents. But the UK is still pressing for changes which would provide a greater incentive for industry to switch to low-solvent coatings rather than invest in add-on pollution control equipment.

The proposal will tackle emissions of solvents and other organic compounds from a range of industrial sectors. Solvents account for over 30% of total man-made VOC emissions of some 10 million tonnes per year in the EC, and contribute to the formation of low-level ozone and other photochemical pollutants.

The Commission hopes to issue a formal proposal by the end of the year, following one further consultation meeting, and to have the cont

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