Training Courses for the Implementation of the European VOC Solvent Emission Directive in 5 EU Candidate Countries (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia)


Air pollution control is a major goal of environmental policy. As a result of a high level of ground level ozone ("summer smog") in Europe most European Countries as well as the USA and Canada signed the "Gothenburg protocol" in 1999. Among others it defines emission ceilings for the ozone precursors (VOC, nitrogen oxides) for 2010, implemented by EU-Directive 2001/81/EC.

In order to achieve these emission ceilings the European Union enacted the so-called VOC Directive in 1999 ("Directive 1999/13/EG on the limitation of emissions of volatile organic compounds due to the use of organic solvents in certain activities and installations"). It lists 20 solvent using activities which fall under the scope of the Directive if a certain solvents consumption threshold is exceeded: e.g. printing, coating of wood/ metal/ paper/ fabrics, manufacturing pharmaceutical products/ of coating preparations/ varnishes/ inks/ adhesives, surface cleaning, dry cleaning, vegetable oil extraction.

For new and substantially changed installations the VOC Directive is already in force. Existing installations have to fulfil the requirements up to 31.10. 2007. Accession countries like Bulgaria and Rumania have also transposed the VOC Directive into national law.

Objective and expected results

The co-operation project trains both authorities and plant operators on the implementation of the national VOC legislation in Bulgaria, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Czech Republic.

For this purpose REC organizes two trainings in every state (Poland: four), in each case for the inspectorates and for industry representatives. The workshops are developed and carried out by Oekopol staff members.

The training confronts the participants with case studies. Working groups have to find out possible solutions to problems. With the Oekopol software "EBAL" (easy balancing tool) participants prepare an exemplary solvent management plan and a reduction plan which meets the requirements.

The project aims at enabling the participants to fulfil the requirements of the VOC Directive and supporting them to develop own strategies for emission reducing. Information exchange of the actors supports co-operation and motivates to harmonise national implementation and transformation.


Christian Tebert