Amendments to the fifth part (atmospheric emissions)
The fifth part of Legislative Decree 152/2006 (Testo Unico Ambientale) has been again updated, specifically with Legislative Decree no. 102 of 30 July 2020, published in the Official Gazette of 13 August 2020, which entered into force on 28 August 2020.
Several articles in Part Five have been modified, mostly consisting of corrections and clarifications to the previous text.
However, a substantial innovation is introduced, concerning substances classified H340, H350, H360 and substances “very high concern”; these are identified with the acronym SVHC (Substance of Very High Concerne) in the Reach Regulation (n. 1907/2006 / CE).
What are these substances?
The Reach identifies these substances with the following criteria:
- substances classified as Carcinogenic, Mutagenic or toxic for Reproduction (CMR), classified in Category 1A or 1B according to CLP Regulation 1272/2008 (Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Chemicals and their Mixtures);
- Substances which are Persistent, Bioaccumulative and Toxic (PBT) or very Persistent and very Bioaccumulative (vPvB) according to Reach Annex XIII.
- Substances on a case-by-case basis, that cause an equivalent level of concern as CMR or PBT/vPvB substances.
What changes have affected these substances, in the fifth part of the Environmental Code?
Art. 271 paragraph 7-bis provides that the substances/mixtures characterized by hazard codes H340, H350, H360 (respectively mutagenic, carcinogenic, and toxic to reproduction) and the substances SVHC in general “They must be replaced as soon as technically and economically possible in the production cycles from which emissions of the substances originate”.
It is also provided that “Every five years, starting from the date of issue or renewal of the authorization, the establishment or installations manager, where the substances referred in this paragraph are used in the production cycles from which the emissions originate, must send a report to the competent authority which analyzes the availability of alternatives, considers the risks and examines the technical and economic feasibility of replacing the aforementioned substances “.
It is also established that “In the case of plants or installations in which the substances or mixtures used in the production cycles from which the emissions originate fall under this paragraph, following a modification in the classification of the same substances or mixtures, the manager must submit, within three years of the change, an application for authorization aimed at adapting to the regulation of this paragraph, attaching to the same application the report referred to in the third period.
The presence of the substances H340, H350, H360 and SVHC in the emissions also determines the impossibility of using the authorizations in general terms (amendment and addition to art. 272, paragraph 4); even then, further the addition of a substance to the SVHC list, the time to submit a new emission authorization request is set at 3 years (application to be submitted with the ordinary procedure ex Art. 269).
Many production sites have authorizations issued in a remote past, even more than 5 years: if there are SVHC, what obligations does the manager have?
In this case, the operator must ensure that the report required by paragraph 7 bis of article 271 is sent to the competent authority within one year of the date on which this decree comes into force, therefore by 28 August 2021.
What other changes have been introduced?
Other amendments to Part Five of the TUA include the replacement of certain criminal sanctions by administrative sanctions (Art. 279); in particular, penalties for failure to “communicate commissioning” and failure to transmit “emissions data” (periodic self-checks to be carried out at chimneys) have been decriminalized. Similar administrative sanctions are also provided for no-submission the “application for authorisation” for medium combustion plants (deadlines 12.31.2023 and 12.31.2027), and no-submission the “technical report” on the possible substitution of H340, H350 H360 and SVHC.