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Air Pollution Regulations Updated


The new Royal Decree 815/2013 of October 18 is made up by a single article approving the Regulations on Industrial Emissions, implementing Law 16/2002, of July 1, on Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) which approved, among other items, the regime applicable to the granting of Integrated Environmental Authorizations (hereinafter the Regulations on Industrial Emissions), including a transitional provision giving time frames for certain industrial activities to adjust their activities to the new regulations.

The new legislation repealed Royal Decree 653/2003, of May 30, on Incineration of Waste and Royal Decree 509/2007, of April 20, which approved the Regulations implementing Law 16/2002, of July 1, on Integrated Pollution prevention and Control.

These new regulations on industrial emissions describe (chapter II) the common principles governing the granting of Integrated Environmental Authorizations (IEAs) and includes a simplified procedure to implement substantial amendments and revisions of the Integrated Environmental Authorization.  In addition, the third section of this RD describes principles of coordination applicable to the different environmental impact assessment procedures and other means of administrative intervention by the Central Government.

This RD is intended to clarify the scope of the IEA, which main novelties are as follows:

(a) A single authorization can now encompass activities listed in annex 1 as well as other related activities meeting certain requirements;


(b) they regulations include wording to the extent that the emission limit values can include pollutants generated by several industrial activities carried out within  the same plant or installation.

(c) the authorization may encompass several installations (or parts of a single  installation) managed and/or operated by different companies;

d) The regulations set forth in more precise manner the contents of (i) the urbanistic report to be submitted by the corresponding Municipality; and (ii) the application that the permit applicant must filed and; (iii) the Integrated Environmental Authorization Itself.

In connection with the contents of both the application and authorization, the regulations establish the need to identify each of the emission sources of air pollutants in order to classify the potentially polluting activities.

(e) the procedures necessary to deal with the environmental authorization and the contents of the notification to be served upon the relevant Basin Authority when the operation of the installation shall involve discharges to inland waters or watersheds under the authority of the National Government are more thoroughly regulated..

f)  Finally, a simplified procedure is approved to amend or introduce significant revisions in the contents of the Integrated Environmental Authorization by setting forth the criteria that can justify the need to apply for a substantial change of the IEA, the contents of the application and procedures therefore, which decision must be delivered within a maximum term of six months. Upon the lapsing of such six months period without the applicant receiving any reply, the silence of the Administration shall be deemed equivalent to a denial.

In the case of initial applications for granting or for asking for material revisions, the review of the relevant application must be coordinated ex officio by the competent bodies, (normally the corresponding regional Environmental Agencies) that are called by the Law to coordinate the necessary procedures with the different bodies that must produce a written report/opinion on the different environmental matters concerned.

g)            On the other hand, the law follows the principles already applied when Spain transposed into domestic law the contents of  of Directive 2006/123/EC of the European Parliament and Council, of 12 December 2006 on Services in the Internal Market, in order to reduce barriers in access to services, In line whit such transposition, the new regulations govern both the start up of the activity as well as its termination, by applying simplified procedures intended to reduce the administrative burdens but without undermining the environmental protection through the necessary prevention and control. In this regard, and notwithstanding the authority vested upon the Autonomous Regions, the regulations allow for a 5 years period for the activity to actually start, subject only to the filing of a so called “responsible declaration” whereby the interested party reports that activities are starting and representing that the activity meets all the parameters and principles based upon which the IEA was granted. The facility will anyway be subject to subsequent inspection pursuant to the principles described in Chapter III,

(h) chapter III sets forth the principles governing the inspection and control of industrial facilities

In accordance with article 29 of Law 16/2002, of July 1, the bodies vested with inspection authority will have to implement an environmental inspection system and all facilities subject to inspection will be covered by an inspection program that will be reviewed from time to time.

(i) Chapter IV, establishes special provisions for installations of waste incineration and co-incineration, thus receiving into Spanish domestic law the contents of EU Directive 2008/1/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 January 2008 on Industrial Emissions and having a bearing on Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control.

This chapter establishes (i) the scope of application, (ii) the system of authorization to which these specific facilities are subject, (iii) the contents of their applications for authorization, (iv) the detailed contents of authorizations for this type of installations, also describing the requirements applicable to the delivery and reception of waste, the conditions of the design, equipment, construction and operation of the relevant facilities, (v) the necessary changes in the authorization that would follow changes in either their operating conditions, the limit values of emission to the atmosphere and waters, waste incineration, the periodicity of measurements in the atmosphere and water, abnormal operating conditions, verification of the value of energy efficiency of domestic waste incineration facilities, and, finally, the presentation of reports and information to the public in such facilities.

(j) finally, the new regulations include special provisions for large combustion plants, transposing the contents of the Directive on Industrial Emissions into Spanish domestic law.

With regard to these large facilities, the regulations describe in detail the standards and value for emission limit and specific aspects such as desulphurization rates, the geological storage of carbon dioxide, procedures to be applied in cases of malfunction or failure, control of emissions into the atmosphere, compliance with maximum values or with emission limits and, finally, the communication of information to the European Commission.

Finally, the RD includes different annexes. The most important is, in our view, Annex I, setting forth the type of industries and industrial installations affected by such Annex, which is regarded and more detailed and complete than former Annex I to Law 16/2002, of July 1, on Integrated Pollution prevention and Control (IPPC Law). In particular, the contents of the Annex I take into account, among other criteria, the existence of reference documents describing the best available techniques (BREF) prepared for the different groups of industrial activities by the European IPPC Bureau (EIPPCB).

In turn, Annexes 2, 3 and 4, describe the technical provisions that must be taken into account for installations of incineration and co-incineration of waste, large combustion plants and installations producing titanium dioxide.

We will be happy to expand or comment the information about this important matter.


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