Skip to main content

Food, Drink and Milk Industries Best Available Techniques (FDM BAT)

SEPA is required to review associated permits following the publication of the revised Best Available Techniques (BAT) Reference Document (BRef) for Food, Drink and Milk Industries. The associated BAT conclusions to this document were published on the 4th December 2019 in the Official Journal of the European Union. This document is available through the following link: BAT Conclusions for Food, Drink and Milk Industries. This BRef review has been delayed due to the impact of COVID and SEPA recently experiencing a significant cyber-attack, and we are now starting the review process.

Sectors included in scope of FDM BAT Review

The FDM applies to all industries carrying out described activities in the FDM BRef. The BRef covers a wide range of activities including:

  • Animal Feed
  • Brewing
  • Dairies
  • Ethanol production
  • Fish and shellfish processing
  • Fruit and vegetable sector
  • Grain milling
  • Meat processing
  • Oilseed processing and vegetable oil refining
  • Soft drinks and nectar/juice made from processed fruit and vegetables
  • Starch production
  • Sugar manufacturing
  • Dry pasta
  • Bakery goods
  • Coffee beverages
  • Distilled beverages
  • Wine production
  • Citric acid production
  • Yeast
  • Confectionary
  • Malting

The full list can be found in the FDM BRef.

Process and Timetable

Mid-March 2023 SEPA will issue Further Information Notices asking operators to carry out a gap analysis of their activities using a spreadsheet response tool to allow a comparison against each individual BAT conclusions specific to the activities undertaken on their installation(s). This assessment will identify where they are already meeting the BAT requirement, where the BAT requirement is currently not being met but will be achieved before December 2023 or where the BAT requirement will not be achievable. Interpretational guidance is also available to provide clarification on BAT requirements.
19 May 2023 Closing date for operator gap analysis to be completed. Operators return the completed spreadsheet by the date specified in the information notice.

20 May 2023 onwards


UPDATE 10/11/23

Due to competing priorities and demands on SEPA staff there are delays in the review process. We are working to check the information you have already submitted. You will be notified in the coming weeks if there is anything missing, or if we require more detail. We apologise for the delay and will keep you updated on progress.

SEPA will assess the information provided and compare it against each BAT conclusion to determine compliance. We may have further discussion with operators to clarify any issues arising.

Following a review there are three potential outcomes:

  • Site meets the BAT conclusions and there is no change needed to the permit.
  • The permit is varied to ensure it complies with the regulations and reflects BAT. This will be a SEPA initiated variation which has no charge. Sites have a right to appeal.
  • Enforcement action taken where the permit holder cannot comply with the permit or BAT.

Contacts and links for further information

UK Sector Specific Interpretational Guidance on the Food Drink and Milk Industries (FDM Best Available Techniques (BAT) Conclusions

Example Gap Analysis Spreadsheet Response Tool

Guidance to complete the Gap Analysis Spreadsheet Response Tool

Further information or guidance e-mail:

Process FAQs

A Gap Analysis Spreadsheet Response Tool has been e-mailed to each FDM installation along with a Further information Notice. If you have not received the spreadsheet or have difficulty accessing the spreadsheet, please e-mail

If you don’t believe the Food, Drink and Milk Industries BRef review applies to your primary activity, then please e-mail

The general BAT conclusions 1-15 apply to all FDM activities and you should assess how you comply against each one of these. If you operate an Anaerobic Digestion Plant you should also assess compliance against the relevant BAT conclusions in the Waste Treatment BRef.

You should send your completed spreadsheet response tool and any supporting evidence or information to by 19 May 2023 at the latest.

Please e-mail any questions to We will make sure the appropriate person answers your query which may be your site officer or a technical expert. Using the mailbox will help SEPA understand and address common questions and identify any issues and ensure you receive a consistent response.

Please ensure all documentation is clearly named and linked to a BAT condition. Large files can be shared via Sharepoint. To request a link, you should contact

Please refer to the guidance tab on the Gap Analysis Spreadsheet Tool to check what supporting evidence is required.

We are working to a tight timescale and would appreciate your cooperation in meeting the submission deadline of 19 May 2023. It is unlikely that we will be able to grant an extension. We are trying to make the process as easy as possible but do appreciate the volume of work to be undertaken varies depending on the site and activities. We want to engage with operators and provide as much support as possible. If you are having difficulties meeting the submission date, please e-mail as soon as possible.

Please tell us about your current operations and also tell us where the gaps are. We may use upgrade conditions for any information that cannot be collated before 19 May 2023, e.g., a delay caused by the need for a third-party contractor. SEPA wishes to be flexible and work with the operators. If you are having difficulties meeting the submission date, please e-mail as soon as possible.

The FDM BREF reviews are one of a number of activities due for review under the Industrial Emissions Directive. The impact of COVID and the significant cyberattack on SEPA in December 2020 have delayed SEPA’s progress on reviews across all activity areas. We are working with the Scottish Government to prioritise the work based on the legislative timetable and available resource.

Since it is a SEPA initiated variation, you will not be charged for the review.

If the change is related to a BAT conclusion this should be discussed with SEPA. If it is unrelated, e.g., to add activities or make process alterations, this must be done as an operator-initiated variation. There is a charge for this.

  • If your permit has been surrendered, please notify SEPA by e-mail to after which you will not need to take any further action.
  • If your site is temporarily mothballed, please e-mail

Probably not but we would like to understand the timescales involved with the surrender and the particular circumstances.

Supporting information can be supplied in separate documents but please make sure each supporting document is referenced in the relevant part of the spreadsheet and this reference aligns to the supporting document name.

We are organising our resources to complete the reviews. We have a Leadership Team in place focusing on ongoing BRef reviews and we are setting up a focused team working offline specifically to assess the FDM reviews and carry out any required variations. We are looking to streamline this process as much as possible which starts with good quality gap analysis information.

SEPA assesses compliance against the current permit. If your permit is varied following the BREF review, then SEPA will only assess compliance against the new conditions once they have taken effect.

If you think you need a derogation, please contact as soon possible. Any derogation requests will be considered in accordance with SEPA’s Guidance on Appraising a Request for Derogation (IED-TG-44 Regulation 25(12) – Derogation from BAT-AEL). Further information is available on SEPA’s website: Derogation from BAT-AEL

The reasons we need the information to be resubmitted include:

  • The officer carrying out the review may not be aware of the site operations and previous performance; and they may not have access to the working file held in the office.
  • We may not have access to the electronic information following the cyberattack on SEPA.

The information previously submitted may be out of date, e.g., management plans may be updated annually, or more recent monitoring results may be available.