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The Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) directive aims to introduce a uniform approach to impact assessment for licensing purposes throughout the European Union (EU) by 2007. Odor is one of the environmental criteria to be considered under IPPC, which applies to specific listed industrial processes. Wastewater treatment installations, for example, may fall under IPPC if they have certain processes on site, linked to a treatment works, such as significant sludge management facilities or an incineration plant. In the UK the approach to odors under IPPC is set out by the Environment Agency in guidance notes published for consultation in 2003: IPPC H4 – Horizontal Odour Guidance. Part 1: ‘Regulation and Permitting’ and Part 2: “Assessment and Control”. The guidance provides guidelines on assessment methods and defined a methodology to derive criteria for exposure levels that can be used to ensure that no ‘reasonable cause for annoyance’ is caused. Dose effect studies can be undertaken to derive specific criteria for specific sectors of industry, and differentiated criteria can be derived taking into account the offensiveness, or odor annoyance potential, of the odor in question. The methodology for deriving air quality criteria is explained in this paper.

Although the guidance only applies to those specific sectors of industry that fall under the IPPC licensing regime, the methodology set out in the H4 guidance is expected to lead to convergence in other licensing mechanisms as well, such as Planning and Local Authority Air Pollution Control.

Air quality criteria on the level of the European Union are not likely to be introduced, as odor is a local or regional issue. However, with the example of the specific approach as outlined in the H4 guidance in Great Britain in mind, the implementation of the IPPC directive is likely to become the mechanism for introducing a common approach to odor impact assessment throughout the EU, for specific industrial activities.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2004

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