New Spanish Air Pollution Legislation

A new Spanish Law on air pollution has been published and is

likely to lead to increasingly strict controls on air emissions

for many sectors.

There has been a tendency in the last few years to view all

environmental ills in terms of their contribution to climate

change. However, the protection of air quality and the

earth's atmosphere have continued to be seen as significant

policy objectives in their own right because of their direct

impact on human health.

In Spain, Law 38/1972 on the Protection of the Atmosphere

provided the first significant step towards addressing air

pollution problems by enabling objectives to be set on air

quality and emissions restrictions, and reducing pollution (in

particular sulphur dioxide) from both fixed and mobile sources.

Integrated environmental authorisation

("AutorizaciÛn Ambiental Integrada") under Law

16/20021 which implements the EU IPPC Directive has

also begun to help address air pollution problems. However,

despite the progress made through these laws, further

legislation has been called for to provide additional measures

given persistent air quality problems, particularly in densely

populated urban areas in Spain. As a result, Law 34/2007 on air

quality and the protection of the atmosphere was published on

17 November 2007, ("Ley de calidad del aire y

protecciÛn de la atmÛsfera" or

"LCAPA"). The aim of LCAPA is to consolidate

protection in relation to air quality based on the following

principles: (i) taking preventive steps using the precautionary

principle; (ii) remedying pollution problems at source; and

(iii) the "polluter pays". Under LCAPA, the owners of

installations where potentially air-polluting activities are

carried out are required to comply with a number of

administrative obligations relating to their operations as set

out below.


The most highly polluting industries are subject to

integrated environmental authorisation

("AutorizaciÛn Ambiental Integrada") and

regulated under Law 16/2002 implementing the EU IPPC Directive.

This Law governs not only air quality but other emissions and

discharges and energy efficiency requirements. LCAPA is

intended to introduce control for certain lesser polluting

activities which are not covered by Law 16/2002. LCAPA only

governs such additional activities in relation to their air


Interestingly, LCAPA has been drafted to include a number of

industrial activities that must be covered by integrated

environmental authorisation...

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