Industrial Emissions licensing

What are industrial emissions?

Industrial activities play an important role in the economic well-being of Ireland contributing to sustainable growth but can also have a significant impact on the environment.

Certain industrial activities produce emissions of various substances into the air, water and land. They also generate waste and use resources such as energy and water. The EPA are responsible for issuing licences to prevent and control pollution from industrial activities. 

The role of the EPA

The EPA issues licences that contain strict conditions on how an activity must operate so as to protect the environment from pollution that might otherwise arise.  The EPA Act, 1992 specifically prohibits the EPA from granting a licence if emissions from the activity would cause pollution. 

Who needs an industrial emissions licence?

The EPA grants and enforces Industrial Emissions (IE) licences for specified industrial and agricultural activities.  These are listed in the First Schedule to the EPA Act.

The types of industry* which may require an Industrial Emissions licence include:

  • Minerals and other materials
  • Energy
  • Metals
  • Mineral Fibres and Glass
  • Chemicals
  • Intensive Agriculture (poultry and pigs)
  • Food and Drink
  • Wood, Paper, Textiles and Leather
  • Fossil Fuels
  • Cement, Lime and Magnesium Oxide
  • Waste
  • Surface Coatings
  • Other Activities (includes testing of engines, manufacture of printed circuit boards, production of lime, the manufacture of ceramic products, the capture of CO2 streams and treatment of waste water).

* Some activities only require an EPA licence above specified thresholds.

Refer to Industrial Emissions Directive FAQs for further guidance.

If you are planning to start a new activity which requires an industrial emissions licence you must have a licence first. It is an offence to carry on a licensable activity without a licence from the EPA.