Are you CATNAPing your way into trouble?

Many companies are sleepwalking their way into trouble by opting for barely adequate environment protection measures instead of the best available.

The attraction of opting for a CATNAP approach (cheapest available technique narrowly avoiding prosecution) is pretty obvious – short-term upfront cost savings. What may be less obvious are some of the longer-term advantages of opting instead for BAT (best available techniques).

BAT is not simply about investing in the latest bits of kit. It’s about looking at the best way of reducing emissions in practice, whether that’s through well engineered innovative equipment, novel processes, improved procedures or good engineering practices.

Importantly, minimising emissions may be good for the environment but it’s also good for business. Fewer emissions mean less waste and improved efficiency. For instance, reducing emissions to air is often about increasing energy efficiency, which is just as much good news for the folk in the finance department as it is for environmental compliance managers. Similarly, reducing liquid effluent cuts treatment and pumping costs, while preventing soil contamination has a massive impact on the long-term remediation costs of any operation.

So how do you know whether you’re operating the best solutions? The Environment Agency has made the job of deciding a bit easier by introducing MCertification. These days, if you want to install a new monitoring scheme, the instrumentation you opt for must be on the Agency’s list of approved, MCertified equipment (assuming your site is covered by the Environmental Permitting Regulations, or EPR).

But BAT goes beyond the measurement technology itself to consider the overall system, and this is an area where many companies may not exactly be doing their best. For instance, more than half of plant operators report that less than 20% of their control instrumentation is currently equipped with intelligence, such as Hart, Fieldbus or Profibus communications*. Furthermore, even where there is the potential for intelligent control, almost half (43%) of users report that they don’t use it.

Yet field-based intelligence and diagnostics can be the key to speeding up the response to an environmental incident or tracking down the source of a leak or other problem fast. Better still, in-built diagnostics enable operators to head off trouble before it crops up by spotting potential issues early and enabling preventative maintenance.

Why not see how well your site is doing compared to everyone else by checking out our interactive benchmarking tool at It could be the wake-up call you’ve been waiting for.


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