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Below you will find an overview of how emissions from the cement industry are handled from a legislative perspective.

Industrial Emissions Directive

In 2011, the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) entered into force.  The aim of this Directive is to minimize pollution from various industrial sources across the EU.  As a result Operators of industrial installations listed under Annex I of the Directive (including the cement plants) must obtain an integrated permit from the Member State authorities.

The IED is based on several principles, as follows:

  1. Integrated approach (permits must take into account the whole environmental performance of the plant)
  2. Best available techniques (BATi conclusions – see more details below) shall be the reference for setting permit conditions
  3. Flexibility (allowing the licensing authorities to set less strict emission limit values in specific, justified cases)
  4. Inspections (The IED requires a site visit shall take place at least every 1 to 3 years)
  5. Public participation (the public has a right to participate in the decision-making process).

Useful information: IED

Best Available Techniques Reference Documents (BREFi)

Under the Industrial Emission Directive (IED), permit conditions including emission limit values (ELVs) must be based on Best Available Techniques (BAT). The reference for setting permit conditions are the “BAT conclusions” which contain information on the emission levels associated with the best available techniques.  These BAT conclusions are developed via an exchange of information between experts from the EU Member States, industry and environmental organizations.  This exchange of information is coordinated via Technical Working Groups (TWGi), established by the European IPPCi Bureau of the Institute for Prospective Technology Studies at the EU Joint Research Centre in Seville (Spain). This results in the adoption and publication by the Commission of the BAT conclusions and BAT Reference Documents (BREFs).

Regarding the cement industry, in 2012, the Commission launched the process for transforming relevant parts of the Cement, Lime and Magnesium Oxide (CLM) BREF into BAT Conclusions.  The revised version of the BAT conclusions and the adaptation of the CLM BREF to the provisions of the IED were submitted for adoption by the European Commission. In 2013, the Commission Implementing Decision 2013/163/EU establishing the BAT conclusions on industrial emissions for the production of cement, lime and magnesium oxide was published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

The emissions limit values for the cement industry are the following:


IED – Annex VI


BAT Conclusions
Total Dust mg/Nm3  30 10-20
HCl mg/Nm3   10 10
HF mg/Nm3 1 1
NOxi prehater
NOx Lepol and long kiln
mg/Nm3 500
<800 until 2016
Cd+Tl      mg/Nm3 0.05 0.05
Hg mg/Nm3 0.05 0.05
Sb+As+Pb+Cr+Co+Cu+Mn+Ni+V mg/Nm3 0.5 0.5
Dioxins and furans ng/Nm3 0.1 0.1
SO2 mg/Nm3 50 (1) 50-400
TOC mg/Nm3 10 (1) -

(1)  Derogations for ELVs in case TOC and SO2 does not result from co-incineration

BATAELs are neither emission nor consumption limit values and should not be understood as such. This is to be understood as meaning that those levels represent the environmental performance that could be anticipated as a result of the application, in this sector, of the techniques described, bearing in mind the balance of costs and advantages inherent within the definition of BAT. In some cases, it may be technically possible to achieve better emission or consumption levels but due to the costs involved or cross-media considerations, they are not considered to be appropriate as BAT for the sector as a whole.

Useful information: IED - CLM BREFBAT Conclusions

NOx & SO2

The cement industry currently operates under the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) regime, and applies Best Available Techniques (BAT). It is under this policy instrument that NOx and SO2 emissions are regulated.


The Minamata Convention on Mercury is a global treaty which aims to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. The Convention was agreed at the beginning of 2013 and provides for controls and reductions across a range of products, processes and industries where mercury is used, released or emitted (including cement kilns).  In this regard, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEPi) prepared a global legally binding instrument on mercury via:

  • The Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC), whose mission was to deliver a legally binding mercury instrument and
  • The UNEP Global Mercury Programme, which deals mainly with partnership activities in various industry sectors, giving input into the decision making process of the INC track.

As a result, CEMBUREAU is an active participant together with the Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSIi) to the Global Mercury Partnership through the Cement Manufacture Partnership set up under the auspices of UNEP. The Global Mercury Partnership is one of the main mechanisms to deliver immediate action on mercury in various industry sectors on the management of mercury emissions. The Cement Manufacture Partnership area has worked on a business plan that outlines cost-effective approaches that the Partnership area will undertake in order to achieve reduction in mercury emissions.  In this regard, three main priority areas have been identified:

  • Inventories: while it is acknowledged that cement contributes to anthropogenic mercury emissions, there is a wide variety in emission inventories from various sources; a better understanding of the true sectoral emissions could be achieved through the establishment of a database for plant information.
  • Development of guidelines to assist cement plants in reducing their mercury emissions: these guidelines would address issues such as the screening of raw materials as their inputs are typically the most important factor in determining emissions, use of a mass balance approach as a tool to reduce mercury emissions and an analysis of abatement technologies available.
  • Outreach and communications: increasing awareness within the cement industry on reduction measures and most appropriate techniques available and disseminate information on case studies.

CEMBUREAU is committed to contribute its expertise to this important initiative together with its global partners.

More information: UNEP