BAT reference documents (BREFs) and BAT Conclusions

BAT Reference document (BREF)

BREF or ‘BAT reference document’ means a document, resulting from the exchange of information organised pursuant to Article 13 of the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) (2010/75/EU). BREFs are drawn up for defined activities and describing, in particular, applied techniques, present emissions and consumption levels, techniques considered for the determination of best available techniques as well as BAT conclusions and any emerging techniques, giving special consideration to the criteria listed in Annex III to Directive 2010/75/EU.

BREFs are the main reference documents used by the EPA when issuing operating permits/licences for the IED activities specified in the First Schedule of the EPA Act 1992, as amended.

Drawing up and reviewing BREFs

The European IPPC Bureau (EIPPCB) organises and co-ordinates the exchange of information between Member States and the industries concerned on Best Available Techniques (BAT), as required by Article 13 of the IED.  The EIPPCB produces BAT reference documents (BREF) and BAT conclusions

The key elements of BREFs (i.e. BAT conclusions) are adopted through committee procedure and are the reference for setting permit/licence conditions to IED activities covered by the First Schedule of the EPA Act 1992, as amended. 

‘BAT conclusions’ will be produced for every BREF.

BAT conclusions

The ‘BAT conclusions’ is a document containing the parts of a BAT reference document laying down the conclusions on best available techniques.

 Article 14(3) of the IED has made the BAT conclusions mandatory in the permitting/licensing process. A Commission Implementing Decision for BAT conclusions will be published for each BREF reviewed under the IED.

Legal status of BREF and BAT conclusions

The Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) 2010/75/EU replaces seven existing directives including the IPPC Directive (2008/1/EC).

» Historically, the BREF process for the IPPC Directive produced guidance documents that member states had to have regard to when     permitting (licensing) installations.

» However, the IED has made BAT conclusions mandatory in the permitting process (Article 14(3) of the IED).

BAT conclusions and your installation

New installations

» Where BAT conclusions are available for any new installations they must achieve the required standard before commencement of   operations.

Existing installations

»For existing installations, the IED requires that where a Commission Implementing Decision on BAT conclusions is published, within four years (relating to the main activity of the installation), the EPA must ensure that ‘all permit/licence conditions for the installation concerned are reconsidered, where necessary updated’ and ‘ensure compliance with the BAT’.

For example the relevant date for compliance with the BAT conclusions for Production of Cement, Lime and Magnesium Oxide sector is:

26 March 2017.

BREFs adopted under the IPPC and IED Directive

33 BREFs were adopted under the IPPC Directive (2008/1/EC).  A number of these have been reviewed and adopted under the IED.  The remainder are in varying stages of development and will be reviewed and adopted under IED.

Commission Implementing Decision on BAT conclusions published:


Reference DocumentCID
Large Combustion Plants (LCP) 2017/1442/EU (07.2017)
Intensive rearing of poultry or pigs (IRPP) 2017/302/EU (02.2017)
Common Waste Water and Waste Gas Treatment/Management Systems in the chemical sector (CWW) 2016/902/EU (06.2016)
Non-ferrous Metals Industries (NFM) 2016/1032/EU (06.2016)
Wood Based Panels (WBP) 2015/2119/EU (11.2015)
Refining of Mineral Oils and Gas (REF) 2014/738/EU (10.2014)
Production of Pulp, Paper and Board (PP) 2014/687/EU (09.2014)
Production of Chlor-Alkali (CAK) 2013/732/EU (12.2013)
Production of Cement Lime and Magnesium Oxide (CLM) 2013/163/EU (03.2013)
Tanning of Hides and Skins (TAN) 2013/84/EU (02.2013)
Manufacture of Glass (GLS) 2012/134/EU (02.2012)
Iron and Steel Production (IS) 2012/135/EU (02.2012)

Learn More

Where to find the BREF relevant to your installation

EIPPCB website:

◊ Details on all BREFS are available on the above page

◊  Find the latest BREF applicable to your site on the above page

◊  Find out the status of any BREF reviews on the above page

 In the absence of BAT conclusions, installations should continue to have regard to BREF and national Best Available Techniques Guidance notes available on the EPA website:

Emerging Techniques

‘Emerging technique’ means a novel technique for an industrial emissions directive activity that, if commercially developed, could provide either a higher general level of protection of the environment or at least the same level of protection of the environment and higher cost savings than existing best available techniques.