B2.1.6 The Aarhus Protocol on Heavy Metals


The Protocol targets three particularly harmful metals: cadmium, lead and mercury. It entered into force on 29 December 2003.

The Protocol aims to cut emissions from industrial sources (iron and steel industry, non-ferrous metal industry), combustion processes (power generation, road transport) and waste incineration. It lays down stringent limit values for emissions from stationary sources and suggests Best Available Techniques (BAT) for these sources. It also introduces measures to lower heavy metal emissions from other products, such as mercury in batteries, and proposes the introduction of management measures for other mercury-containing products, such as electrical components (thermostats, switches), measuring devices (thermometers, manometers, barometers), fluorescent lamps, dental amalgam, pesticides and paint.

The requirements of the protocol are to reduce emissions of these three metals below their levels in 1990 (or an alternative year between 1985 and 1995).

There was no need for the UK to introduce any new legislation to implement the requirements of the Protocol.