PPS 11: Planning and Waste Management
Waste Management Strategy: Best Practicable Environmental Option (BPEO)
1.28 The concept of Best Practicable Environmental Option (BPEO) was first outlined in the Fifth Report of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (RCEP) in 1976. The concept was elaborated in their Twelfth Report, “The Best Practicable Environmental Option” (1988) which showed that it involved a balancing of criteria, including technology, financial costs and pollution impacts. The concept was introduced into UK Legislation through Part I of the Environmental Protection Act, specifically for those prescribed processes regulated under Integrated Pollution Control (IPC), and is now at the heart of waste management decision making in the UK. The RCEP’s Twelfth Report defines BPEO as “the outcome of a systematic consultative and decision making procedure which emphasises the protection and conservation of the environment across land, air and water. The BPEO procedure establishes, for a given set of objectives, the option that provides the most benefits or the least damage to the environment, as a whole, at acceptable cost, in the long term as well as the short term.”
1.29 BPEO is a key principle in pursuing greater sustainability in waste management. In the context of waste management planning, the “options” considered are specific combinations of methods for the collection, transport, treatment and disposal of waste, including recycling and recovery. As indicated above, the 3 District Council groups have prepared WMPs for sub regions that together cover all of Northern Ireland. Each WMP is seeking to establish the BPEO for waste streams situated in. brought into or taken for treatment or disposal out of their sub-region, i.e. the preferred combination of the various methods that can be used to collect, treat and process waste.