Report of the Enterprise Committee
Today, virtually all Danish enterprises, with a duty to be approved, do
in fact have environmental approval. Technological development,
initiatives from local authorities, and industry attitudes to
environmental issues have given rise to great advances over the past ten
years, and in general the environmental impacts from enterprises are under
control. Many Danish enterprises lead Europe in environmental aspects.
Today, enterprises demand quicker and more flexible administration of
approval procedures, and they expect easy access to information on the
requirements they must meet. A clear initiative in this regard it is to
examine opportunities to simplify and rationalise enterprises' reporting
It is also important that inspection by the authorities is based on
well-defined and simple guidelines so that efforts are directed where they
are most needed and so that the greatest possible benefit is reaped from
enterprises' own environment work.
The Committee has therefore discussed the possibilities of simplifying
the approval system for a number of enterprises so that fewer enterprises
are subject to the current approval system. The Committee has also
discussed the possibilities of changing the organisation of municipal
inspection, the rules regarding user payment, and introducing reporting to
a single place.
Future regulation of enterprises
The Committee has discussed the possibilities of easing the
administrative burden of enterprises in connection with regulation. The
Committee's discussions focused partly on the options for reducing the
number of enterprises subject to the current, extremely comprehensive
approval process, and partly on ways to develop a simplified approval
system. Furthermore, the Committee discussed the current notification
scheme. The Committee has confirmed that current environmental standards
must be maintained.
The Committee considers that it is possible to introduce a simpler
approval system, which could be applied to the majority of the enterprises
with a duty to be approved so that the present approval procedure could in
future be reserved for large and/or environmentally complex enterprises.
All other enterprises would be regulated as before via improvement notices,
if significant pollution is ascertained. .
The Committee has not pointed to any specific criteria that could be
applied to identify clearly enterprises that should continue to be subject
to the current approval system. However, there was agreement that this
system should continue to apply to enterprises covered by both the IPPC
Directive and appendix 1 of the EIA Directive. There is also agreement
that the existing scheme should apply for certain other larger and
environment-relevant enterprises. The Committee suggests that selection of
these should be made in connection with preparation of the new regulations.
The simplified approval system is expected to cover up to 5,200 of
approximately 6,5501 existing enterprises
subject to approval.
The Committee proposes that the simplified approval system should be
based on standard approvals as far as possible. The precondition for being
able to issue a standard approval is that there is a set of standard
requirements for a given sector or type of enterprise that the approving
authority can directly apply in its approval procedure. Therefore, the
Committee proposes that, in cooperation with the sectors, regional/local
authorities, and other relevant parties, the Danish EPA prepare a "datasheet"
for sectors where this is possible.
The datasheet should include a short description of the sectors and
their processes/activities; a brief description of the most important
environmental factors pertaining to the enterprises in the relevant sector;
standard conditions for organisation and operation on the basis of best
available technology and clean technology, including emission limits for
significant air pollution; and finally a limited degree of conditions for
Noise and odour conditions and, to a certain extent, conditions for own
control should be set individually on the basis of a specific assessment
of the location of the enterprise in relation to its surroundings, while
conditions for wastewater should be based on the existing rules for
In addition, it may be necessary to make individual requirements based
on conditions at the individual enterprise which deviate from the
descriptions in the datasheet.
The datasheet should contain an application form specifically for the
type of enterprise it deals with. The application requirements for advance
documentation should be simplified compared with the current requirements.
As the datasheet will take account of the most recent developments in best
available technology (BAT), including clean technology, the enterprises
covered by the datasheet (and therefore standard approval) should no
longer have to report on their deliberations regarding BAT in their
The datasheet should be prepared so that it represents the total
knowledge at a given time for a given sector. With their current knowledge
and experience, the Danish EPA and others can describe the potential
pollution from a large number of types of enterprise and establish a set
of standard requirements based on BAT.
From the enterprise's perspective, the datasheet will provide clarity,
overview, and predictability for environmental requirements. Moreover, it
will be easier for the authorities to issue an approval as usually only
few conditions will have to be set individually.
The Committee does not expect that it will be possible to prepare
datasheets for all types of enterprise subject to the simplified approval
procedure. Therefore, the Committee proposes that the simplified approval
system provides the possibility to issue an approval on the basis of an
individual assessment according to the same guidelines as today.
With regard to these enterprises, simplification means that the
requirements for the application and advance documentation will be reduced
and that the current requirement that the enterprise must always report on
any possibilities to apply BAT need only be complied with in cases where
there is relevant material to be included by the enterprise in its
deliberations on choice of technology and where the enterprise is not
covered by a datasheet.
It is proposed that the existing approval system be retained with
slight adjustments, including changes requested by the agricultural sector
to ease administration. In this connection, the Ministry of the
Environment will look at possible simplifications in the existing process
for applications for approval.
Finally, the Committee proposes that the existing notification scheme
be withdrawn. It is suggested that the municipality obtain information on
new enterprises from the CVR register (a register of Danish companies),
and information on changes and extensions to existing enterprises that may
give rise to significant pollution through inspections and if possible
through processing building permits, etc. The Committee also welcomes the
possibility to consider simplification of the agricultural sector's
notification obligations under the Statutory Order on Manure.
The Committee has discussed the possibilities of organising future
municipal and county inspection to take account of the proposed changes in
The Committee's discussions have especially focused on differentiated
inspection and that, via this differentiated approach to inspection, the
supervisory authorities will best take into account the environmental
initiatives carried out by the individual enterprise itself. The
differentiated inspection approach will also lead to targeted exploitation
of the resources of the authority for inspection activities.
In order to both promote consideration of the enterprises' own efforts
and to ensure efficient and appropriate inspection, the Committee proposes
that inspection of enterprises is differentiated according to the "something-for-something"
principle so that inspection is reduced as enterprises' own environmental
efforts increase. Enterprises with good environmental conditions should be
able to perceive administrative benefits, including fewer inspection
Through their inspection, many counties and municipalities have offered
enterprises knowledge of more extensive and voluntary initiatives
benefiting the environment, for example taking part in environment
networks with exchange of experience, discussions about environmental
action plans or eco-management systems, or possibly more environmentally
friendly products. The environmental authorities have noted that
enterprises are very interested in such dialogue.
In order to assist the authorities in their work with differentiated
inspection and to "create more predictability in the organisation of
inspection" the Danish EPA, in cooperation with the organisations
represented in the Committee and others, will prepare guidelines on
carrying out differentiated inspection on the basis of the principles
below, which were laid down by the Committee.
The Committee proposes that enterprises are categorised in three levels
according to their environmental efforts so that level 1 comprises
enterprises most positive towards the environment, level 3 comprises the
least positive, and level 2 comprises an intermediate group. The
supervisory authorities are to use this categorisation to differentiate
inspection of enterprises and to target and set priorities for inspection
The categorisation is to be on the basis of the following three
- The enterprise's own systems for environmental work - eg.
environmental action plans, eco-management systems, and the quality of
own control procedures.
- The enterprise's own information for the authorities on any
environmental problems arising, other reliable and complete
information important to assess the environmental conditions of the
enterprise, as well as the enterprise's own efforts to deal with
justified complaints about nuisance from the enterprise.
- The enterprise's respect for the law, including prompt action
regarding improvement notices, compliance with various conditions and
provisions in own control procedures, etc.
The result will be that, all things being equal, level 3 enterprises
will experience more thorough and visible inspection than level 1
enterprises. It should be possible to reduce inspections at level 1
enterprises to the minimum frequency for the relevant type of enterprise.
However, other considerations than the categorisation may have to be
included in the inspection priority stipulated by the supervisory
authority. For example, the potential pollution from the enterprise, the
number of complaints about the enterprise, any accidents at the enterprise,
and inspection with regard to tracing sources of pollution. Furthermore,
the authorities may decide to prioritise special interest areas (eg.
The Committee recommends that targeting inspection resources towards
enterprises should take place so that, in its annual planning, the
individual supervisory administration ensures that significantly more
resources are spent on level 3 enterprises than on the same type of level
2 enterprise. Correspondingly, more resources should be spent on level 2
enterprises than on the same type of level 1 enterprise. Overall
application of resources on inspection by each supervisory authority also
depends on the number of enterprises in each category, as well as the
distribution of enterprises regarding their supervisory complexity.
The Committee also recommends that as far as possible supervisory
authorities use the information already available from the enterprises,
eg. information from certification schemes (EMAS or ISO 14001). In this
way, enterprises will avoid the risk of doing the same work twice and the
authorities will avoid superfluous inspection and the associated costs.
In order to ensure quality inspection and targeted inspection resources,
the Committee proposes that the current fixed minimum frequency for
municipal inspection at enterprises be replaced with a minimum frequency
for reviewing all important environmental conditions at an enterprise;
what is referred to in the report as "overall inspection". In
this way, the authority guarantees that all relevant environmental
conditions are checked or assessed during overall inspection. However, it
is always the responsibility of the enterprise to keep to relevant
The individual supervisory authority must itself assess the measures
necessary, but at all events inspection should be differentiated, and, for
example, a "desktop inspection" may be enough for level 1
enterprises. In order to ensure contact with the enterprise, however, at
least one physical visit to the enterprise should be carried out during
the period for overall inspection.
The Confederation of Danish Industries (DI) does not consider that
minimum frequencies and "overall inspection" are more important,
but it does regard the allocation of supervisory authorities' resources to
the different levels to be important benchmarks.
Furthermore, the Committee recommends that the Danish EPA gather
information on application of resources within the different levels so
that a basis for assessing whether the objectives have been met can be
established within a few years.
The method of calculating application of resources will be laid down in
the preparation of guidelines on differentiated inspection.
In order to further ensure the quality, transparency, and uniformity of
inspection, the Danish EPA will examine the possibilities for benchmarking
inspection by municipalities and counties in selected areas. The
examination will look at whether measurement parameters for quality of
inspection can be established for use in such a comparison.
Social consequences of the proposal
The proposal from the Committee regarding regulation of enterprises and
inspection involves considerable administrative benefits for both
enterprises and the authorities. With regard to enterprises, these
benefits will be that more than 5,000 enterprises will be able to transfer
to a simplified approval system. Of these, about 4,000 enterprises will in
future be able to obtain a standard approval, and they will experience a
notable relaxation in approval procedures, while the authorities will no
longer have to carry out time-demanding approval procedures.
With regard to inspection, the future differentiated inspection will
mean that efforts will be directed to the enterprises with the most
serious environmental problems, thus achieving the most cost-effective
solutions for society when achieving environmental objectives.
Environmentally positive enterprises will experience benefits from
differentiated inspection in that the efforts they make themselves will
result in reduced control by the authorities, including fewer inspection
visits. For the authorities, differentiated inspection will mean that
resources are used efficiently and optimally.
The Committee agrees that the simplified approval system will lead to
less use of resources by the public sector in parallel with implementation
of the system.
The Enterprise Committee agrees that the flow of environment
information between enterprises and the authorities should be coordinated
and organised as simply and as efficiently as possible so that enterprises
are burdened as little as possible, while still meeting the information
needs of the authorities and the public.
The ongoing reporting by enterprises being focused on by the Committee
fulfils various purposes. These include ensuring public access to
environment information, checking that the enterprise meets the
authorities' conditions (own control), as well as various statistical
Reporting from enterprises also helps Denmark to meet a number of
international reporting requirements, for example in connection with EPER2
notification and the coming PRTR3 Protocol,
as well as to document reductions in emissions, compliance with Directives,
The Committee has noted that a number of initiatives are in progress to
assess the possibilities of simplifying and digitalising reporting by
Reporting about waste generation comprises a significant part of
enterprises' reporting obligations, and it is being analysed by a special
working group that is expected to complete its work in 2004.
The Internet portal for enterprises virk.dk opened in autumn 2003, and
this represents an obvious possible hub for future statutory reporting
from enterprises about the environment.
The environment Internet portal, which will be established in
cooperation between the counties and
The Danish EPA will ensure efficient exchange of data between the
counties themselves, and between the counties and the Ministry of the
Environment. At first, enterprises will not be part of the environment
In order to avoid burdening enterprises more, the latest changes in
green accounts aim for green accounts to be used for collecting
environmental information for further international reporting.
The Digital Taskforce and the Danish EPA have initiated work to assess
the possibilities for simplifying and digitalising green accounts. The
Task Force is expected to complete its work at the end of 2004.
During the autumn of 2003 a more detailed specification of the data to
be included in green accounts was issued. On the basis of this
specification and the assessment of the potential for simplification and
digitalisation of green accounts, as well as the initial experience with
virk.dk, in early 2004 it will be possible to decide on the future
simplification and digitalisation work.
The Danish EPA has stated that the Danish government has stipulated
that user payment should continue.
If they are implemented, the changes in regulation of enterprises and
organisation of inspection proposed by the Committee, will mean it is not
possible to keep the rules for user payment for environmental approval and
inspection as they are at present.
The Secretariat has asked the Committee to propose different new
user-payment schemes, including a model for hourly rates. However, the
Committee has not found in appropriate to discuss these models in more
detail in this forum and it has not made any recommendations regarding the
principles for future user-payment schemes.
1) This information comes from the inspection report by
the Danish EPA for 2001.
2) EPER stands for European Pollutant Emission Register.
3) PRTR stands for Pollutant Release and Transfer