Air Monitoring

How can Industrial Regulations be improved to avoid any potential Emissions Reporting Scandal (Avoiding a VW type scandal)

May 24 2018 Read 436 Times

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The VW automotive emissions testing scandal has signifi cant environmental implications due to the mismatch between expected and actual emissions of NOX . Many consider that the ultimate responsibility lies with VW on the issue, however it is important to consider the role of the regulator in supporting an industry backed testing regime which does not absolutely refl ect actual emissions.

While it is very unlikely that such large emissions scandal could arise in the industrial emissions fi eld due to the large number of independent sources and a strong regulatory regime supported by CEN standards, this paper provocatively looks at a number of areas where regulatory imperfections and light touches may well lead to a misreporting of emissions and where regulators might seriously consider alternative approaches to ensure that European Citizens can rely on emissions data

These fall into two main categories

1) Where emissions are estimated and might not necessarily refl ect actual emissions.
a. In Europe the presumption that measurements for green house emission reporting can only be used if they have low uncertainty, is perhaps unwise when estimations themselves can have high uncertainties this is already an area of disagreement between CEN and ISO.
b. National Mass Inventories are declared based on mass emissions taken from plant which often refl ect emissions at a snap shot in time multiplied by time. No visibility is given to uncertainty in measurements

2) Where emissions are not properly continuously monitored
a. This refl ects limited central European requirements on when to apply continuous monitoring to industrial processes beyond Power and Incineration plant. Concerning the Monitoring BREF note has been downgraded to guidance only and leaves ultimate decisions on the use of CEMs to national regulators who have ever decreasing resource and technical resources to make these judgements. And we should be honest that certain BREFS have been perhaps weakened in part to refl ect lowest common denominator rather than best available technology.
b. Regulators across Europe take differing views that the cost/benefi t of CEMS and there is inconsistency on the role of CEMs based on commercial and local political pressures and available resources. Why else are Dioxins are only continuously sampled in France and Belgium and not in most other European Countries? c. Regulators in Europe are wary to insist on monitori ng requirements beyond those specifi cally insisted in EU directives and BREF notes. Surely it is unwise for certain national regulators to take a light touch on mercury monitoring when other countries have seen the need? Why is continuous fi lter leak monitoring only well applied In the UK?

This paper will look at these issues in some depth and the reasons behind them and will make suggestions to address these issues. The paper will not be unrealistically provocative!

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