European Environment Agency industrial emissions report underlines need for more action on air pollution

EEB Reactions

Brussels, 25 November

A report released today by the European Environmental Agency (EEA) has revealed that the cost of air pollution between 2008 and 2012 from industrial emissions alone could amount to half of Poland’s GDP.

The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) welcomes this report, which comes at a critical moment as the new European Commission is considering withdrawing important air pollution standards on the dangerously false premise that this will drive growth and jobs.

Arne Fellermann, EEB policy officer on Air Quality, commented: “The EEA estimates the cost of these industrial emissions at between €329 billion and €1053 billion between 2008 and 2012. This underlines the folly of withdrawing a desperately needed air package to appease industry demands for cutting ‘red tape’. The economic benefits resulting from improved air quality legislation far exceed the costs of action.”

Fifty percent of the damage was caused by just 1 % of the 14,325 facilities assessed over the period 2008 to 2012 according to the report [1], which also provides a ranking of the 30 largest industrial emitters in Europe.

Christian Schaible, EEB senior policy officer on Industrial Production, commented on the EEA’s analysis: “The EU should not allow the most polluting emitters, who make up only 1% of the EU’s installations, to continue being exempted from stricter EU emissions standards. Cleaning up coal fired combustion plants alone would yield environmental and health benefits of up to €55 billion a year. These standards were deemed feasible almost a decade ago but operators are still shamefully dragging their feet.” [2]


For further information please contact:
Arne Fellermann, EEB Air Quality Policy Officer,, or on +32 2 289 1307
Christian Schaible, EEB Senior Policy Officer for Industrial Production,, or on +32 2 289 10 90

Note for editors:

The European Environment Agency report is available here.

[1] The EEA has found that 90% of the total damage costs are due to only 1,529 facilities (out of a total of 14,325), and just 147 facilities (that is just 1% of all the facilities) are responsible for 50% of the total damage costs. The Large Combustion Plant (LCP) case studies in section 3.3 and Table 3.4. and 3.5. in the EEA report list the top 30 worst installations in terms of aggregated damage costs. The ranking should be taken with caution since Martisa Iztok 2 (BG) and Longannet (UK) have not fully reported their emissions.

The Industrial Emissions Directive foresees the application of stricter emission limits for the key pollutants (dust, NOx, and SO2), yet existing LCPs may delay these through a Transitional National Plan (TNP) derogation. The Commission has already accepted TNPs that would allow the top 30 emitters to have higher pollution allowance. The TNP derogations of the UK and Spain are still under evaluation.

Table 3.4 in the EEA report highlights the top 30 installations in terms of absolute damage cost, 26 of these are coal and lignite fired LCPs, one Polish Refinery (Orlen) and two Iron and Steel plants (Teeside UK and ILVA in Taranto) The ranking corresponds to the dirty 30 list of the NGOs (focusing on the electricity generating LCPs).See

Table 3.5 in the EEA report highlights the top 30 most inefficient LCPs (environmental performance) in terms of output. These plants should be closed at the latest by 2016 (and not be eligible for any derogation).

[2] Table 3.6 shows an annual damage cost saving up to €55 billion if operators would operate in accordance to true Best Available Techniques (BAT, which are abatement standards), judged as economically and technically feasible in the LCP Best Available Techniques Reference Document (BREF) of 2006. However, Member States permit issuers have ignored these benchmarks.

This BREF is currently under review, setting out the updated performance benchmarks for the next decades to come. Yet the proposed BAT conclusions may lead to a weakening of BAT standards by proposing high ranges achievable with BAT for existing plants for above the true performance levels reflected in the “stricter range” of the 2006 BREF. See

For more info, please contact:

Christian SCHAIBLE

Policy Manager: Industrial Production

Tel: +32 (0) 2 289 10 90