Serious flaws in new MCP directive

On 6 May the European Parliament’s environment committee voted on the introduction of new air pollution limits for medium-size combustion plants (MCP).

The proposed new directive is part of the Commission’s Clean Air Policy Package from December 2013, and will cover installations that burn fuel and have a thermal input of between 1 and 50 megawatts (MW). These are mostly boilers, heaters, engines and turbines used for electricity generation, residential heating and cooling, and heating and steam for industrial processes. The Commission has estimated that around 142,000 installations in the EU would be affected by this directive.

The Parliament’s environment committee (ENVI) voted in support of maintaining the emission limit values originally proposed by the Commission, but these are far from challenging and nowhere near what is already technically feasible. The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) noted that in some cases, the MCP emission limits are as much as eight times higher than the existing Dutch standards for similar-sized combustion plants. On the other hand, the Parliament wants to move some of the compliance deadlines forward and to introduce energy efficiency requirements.

“This is a source of pollution which, until now, has been regulated in some EU countries but not in others, so it is important that the EU addresses it. Yet providing time extensions and exemptions for combustion plants in sectors, like the oil industry or district heating plants, is shameful. Citizens are probably left wondering what the objective behind the directive actually is: limiting air pollution or reducing the impact it will have on industry?” said Louise Duprez, of the EEB.

Source: EEB press release, 6 May 2015.

In this issue