Meet EU Emissions Trading System requirements

EU Emissions Trading System: how to comply

To comply with the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), your installation must legally hand over (surrender) enough allowances to cover your emissions from the previous year. Allowances are issued every February for the following year.

The deadline for surrendering allowances is 30 April every year. Failure to comply is met with financial penalties - €100 for every tonne of CO2 for which you fail to surrender allowances - plus you have to make up for the shortfall the following year.

Greenhouse gas permits

A greenhouse gas permit gives you licence to operate an installation that emits CO2. When you apply for a permit, you must also submit a plan for monitoring and reporting emissions. This will require approval from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA).

Operational changes

If the operation of your installation changes, you will need to contact your regulator to see if alterations need to be made to your permit or monitoring plan. Any changes to the way you monitor your emissions, even replacement of a meter, may affect your monitoring plan so you should notify your regulator.

If operations at your installation cease or the emissions drop below threshold levels, you should contact your regulator to see if your EU ETS obligations are affected. A partial or temporary closure will not usually affect your annual allowance allocations, but you should check with your regulator before these closures take place. You should notify your regulator if the temporary closure will extend beyond 50 days.

If your installation closes permanently, allowances for the subsequent year will be withheld. You should apply to your regulator to hand over your permit and provide verified reports up to the date of closure.

Monitoring, reporting and verification

Regulators are responsible for overseeing the monitoring, reporting and verification of emissions from installations.

You must have all annual reports and monitoring verified by an independent and accredited verifier. Verifiers are private companies, accredited by the UK Accreditation Service, who will charge a fee to check for:

  • inconsistencies in monitoring
  • omissions
  • misrepresentations
  • errors

The verifier will also confirm your annual emissions figure and produce a verification opinion statement that will be sent to your regulator. To enable the surrender of an appropriate number of allowances, it is essential you have a verified emissions figure in the registry by 1 April each year. Although you can surrender allowances without a verified report, you take the risk that following later verification there is a shortfall and the €100 per tonne of CO2 penalty is enforced.