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BAT or Best Available Technology simply means that if you choose this technology, you have the best you can get.
The origin of the ”best available technology” is derived from the second half of the 1800s. It has been expressed in various ways, such as ”Best practicable means”, but has always had basically the same meaning. Today’s “Best Available Technology” was coined for the first time in the 1992 OSPAR Convention where and accurately described by:
1. The use of the best available techniques shall emphasise the use of non-waste technology, if available.
2. The term “best available techniques” means the latest stage of development (state of the art) of processes, of facilities or of methods of operation which indicate the practical suitability of a particular measure for limiting discharges, emissions and waste. In determining whether a set of processes, facilities and methods of operation constitute the best available techniques in general or individual cases, special consideration shall be given to:
(a) comparable processes, facilities or methods of operation which have recently been successfully tried out;
(b) technological advances and changes in scientific knowledge and understanding;
(c) the economic feasibility of such techniques;
(d) time limits for installation in both new and existing plants;
(e) the nature and volume of the discharges and emissions concerned.
3. It therefore follows that what is “best available techniques” for a particular process will change with time in the light of technological advances, economic and social factors, as well as changes in scientific knowledge and understanding.
4. If the reduction of discharges and emissions resulting from the use of best available techniques does not lead to environmentally acceptable results, additional measures have to be applied.
5. “Techniques” include both the technology used and the way in which the installation is designed, built, maintained, operated and dismantled.