The Environment Council on June 25, 2009 agreeed to more flexibiliy  for Member States in implementing the IPPC Directive. According to  Directive proposal put forward by the Commission in 2007  52,000 industrial operators will need to obtain permits from national authorities to release pollutants into the air, soil or water. The Commission originally proposed to tighten emissions limit values by forcing plants to adopt Best Available Techniques (BATs) by 2016. Environment ministers agreed to a Czech proposal to apply current BATs to new combustion plants earlier than envisaged by the Commission, within two years after the entry into force of the directive. For existing plants, the deadline was set to 2016, with a transition period. The Czech presidency had also suggested giving national authorities until the end of 2019 to define “transitional national plans” for reducing emissions of NOx, SO2 and dust, with a gradual decline in annual national ceilings. However a group of Member States led by the UK, Poland, Italy, Slovakia, Slovenia and Romania, ministers decided to extend this flexibility by another year – until the end of 2020 – in order to give member states more flexibility. The Council also set a 96% rate of desulphurisation of fossil fuels for LCPs .  The Commission found allies in Germany, France, Denmark and Austria in demanding stricter rules for deviating from BATs. But after the Netherlands switched sides, a bloc headed by the UK and Italy and including many new Member States won assurances that there would be more flexibility in the new system. Under the  compromise  Member States could grant operators permission to exceed the set emission limits in specific cases like  technical characteristics of the installation, geographical location and local environmental conditions.