No further decrease in the SO2 and NOx emission
In 2011, industrial SO2 emissions were only 40 % of the emissions in 2000. The strong reduction in emissions from the chemicals and metal subsectors, on the one hand, and the financial-economic crisis in 2008 and 2009, on the other hand, were the main reasons for this decrease. From 2010, industrial activity recovered but total industrial SO2 emissions remained more or less at the 2009 level. There was, however, a strong increase in SO2 emissions in the metal subsector between 2009 and 2011 (+40 %), which could possibly be explained by plant restarts or the renewed use at full capacity of large installations. SO2 emissions from the other industry subsector decreased by 55 % between 2009 and 2011. This was mainly due to the application (since 1 January 2010) of tighter SO2 emission limit values for the processing of all types of clay in the glass and ceramics industry.
Industrial SO2 emissions, which represented 44 % of the total emissions in Flanders in 2011, can be reduced further by more widespread use of low-sulphur fuels such as natural gas, DeSOx installations and a higher energy efficiency.
Industrial NOx emissions decreased much less sharply than the SO2 emissions and, in 2011, they were still 72 % of those in 2000. The greatest decrease in emissions occurred in 2009 as a result of the financial-economic crisis. In recent years, industrial NOx emissions have again increased partly due to the recovery of the economy. The increase between 2009 and 2010 was the most pronounced in the metal subsector (+38 %).
The industry has a 17 % share in NOx emissions in Flanders. In chemicals, NOx emissions have remained at the same level in recent years, despite an increase in production. This can be attributed to the Environmental Policy Agreement of 9 July 2009, which imposed an NOx emissions ceiling of 9.8 tonnes to be reached by 2013 at the latest. This subsector continued to invest heavily in NOx filters, low NOx burners, catalytic converters and other measures, so that this target was reached in 2011. Also in 2009 and 2010, chemicals remained below this ceiling partly as a result of the reduced activity due to the financial-economic crisis.