The need for an integrated environmental licensing law was highlighted in the wake of a 2011 government decision on the preparation of a national green growth strategy for Israel. Three round tables were set up to implement the government decision – on production, consumption and innovation – and important insights were gleaned from each of them.
Discussions around the green production round table highlighted the fact that there need be no contradiction between industrial development and environmental performance. In fact, industry declared its readiness to improve its environmental performance based on pollution prevention at source, implementation of best available techniques (BAT), and efficient use of resources - in return for greater regulatory certainty.
In order for industry to move forward, however, new directions were needed to remove the obstacles such as bureaucratic and cumbersome licensing procedures, lack of centralized information, and inadequate government support. The main recommendation for dealing with these issues while promoting green growth in the manufacturing sector was creation of an advanced environmental regulation system through integrated environmental licensing. Thus, whereas currently, industrial activities are subject to different licenses issued by different units in the Ministry of Environmental Protection for different periods of time, the new approach will simplify the process, increase efficiency, and improve both the economic and environmental performances of these companies.
Israel based this new approach on the European Commission Directive on Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (the IPPC Directive), which was replaced in late 2010 by the Directive on Industrial Emissions (IED Directive). The directive sets a target of prevention, or where not possible - minimization - of emissions to the air, water, and land from industrial installations, in a manner that will bring about a high level of environmental protection as a whole.
The directive is based on such principles as an integrated approach, best available techniques (BAT), flexibility, inspections and public participation. This also is in line with the commitment Israel made to implement IPPC as part of its OECD accession process, which was completed in 2010.