The Meaning of BATNEEC: Interpreting Excessive Costs in UK Industrial
This paper examines how the concept of 'excessive
costs' has been interpreted in the implementation of industrial
pollution control in the UK. Since 1984, industrial air pollution
regulation in the EU has been guided by the framework concept of
Best Available Technology Not Entailing Excessive Costs (BATNEEC).
With the introduction of the Integrated Pollution Prevention & Control
Directive in 1996, this has been replaced by the concept of Best
Available Techniques (BAT). Despite the absence of the NEEC qualification,
the concept of avoiding excessive costs is effectively absorbed
in the IPPC definition of availability. Both concepts require interpretation
and both devolve potentially controversial decisions to the level
of the individual site regulator. A central issue in interpreting
'excessive costs' is the relative importance of environmental cost
benefit analysis versus the ability of a sector to 'afford' environmental
improvements. Also important is how such concepts can be operationalised
by regulators who lack resources and depend upon industry for information.
The paper provides a historical account of how these issues have
been dealt with in the UK and argues that the key difficulties are
far from being resolved. The paper concludes by assessing the implications
for the future implementation of IPPC.
pdf no longer available - this paper has now
been published in Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning,
4, 2002, 23-40.