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New EU environmental norms to reduce the impact of ferrous metals processing plants

Stricter norms concern emissions to air and to water, energy efficiency and resource efficiency, and promote more sustainable industrial production and the use of fossil-free energy sources for the heating processes.

About 1400 ferrous metals processing plants in the EU will have to reduce their environmental impact to meet the new legislative changes. Existing ferrous metals processing installations will have 4 years to comply with stricter environmental norms, while new installations will have to comply immediately.

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It is another step by the European Commission towards the Zero Pollution ambition to reduce air, water and soil pollution to harmless levels to health and natural ecosystems. The Zero Pollution action is one of the Green Deal’s headline actions on pollution, among a series of initiatives aiming to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent.

The new norms deliver a reinforced level of protection, with particular emphasis on emissions to air and to water, as well as on other environmental issues relevant to circular economy – including energy efficiency and resource efficiency (water consumption, raw material consumption, waste generation).

They also promote more sustainable industrial production through the substitution of raw materials that are hazardous, harmful or have a high environmental impact. Finally, they will contribute to decarbonise the sector by, for the first time, explicitly promoting the use of fossil-free energy sources for the heating processes.

These environmental legislative changes concern in particular all the downstream steel production processes whereby semi-finished steel products (e.g. ingots, slabs, blooms and billets) are further transformed using hot or cold rolling processes to produce a variety of final products including:

hot rolled coils and heavy plates (hot rolling of flat products);

beams, rails, bars, rods, tubes and rings (hot rolling of long products);

cold rolled coils (cold rolling).

Additional plants concerned are installations producing steel wires and galvanising plants (using either continuous or batch processes).

Best Available Techniques (BAT)

The new norms are based on new specifications stemming from a review of the Best Available Techniques (BAT) Reference Document (BREF) for the Ferrous Metals Processing industry that covers:

emissions to air, water and soil as well as other environmental performance aspects;

norms on how technology is used and on the way in which installations are designed, built, maintained, operated and decommissioned;

monitoring provisions associated with the BAT (monitoring methods and frequency).

The BAT conclusions provide national authorities with a sound technical basis to set the conditions under which operating permits are granted to industrial installations.


Source: EU

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