Call an expert today: +44 (0)114 272 2270
Free Environmental Bulletin: Subscribe now
Free Environmental Bulletin: Subscribe Email: Call: +44 (0)114 272 2270

Do you know what the Medium Combustion Plant Directive is?

21 August 2019

Bethan Stones headshot

Bethan Stones

Group Marketing Manager

Cura Terrae
LinkedIn icon
Emissions in air at sunset

Before detailing the requirements of the Medium Combustion Plant Directive, it is important to define combustion plant. A combustion plant is any technical apparatus in which fuels are oxidised in order to use the heat generated it will cover boilers, turbines and engines (European Commission 2019).

The Medium Combustion Plant Directive (MCPD, Directive 2015/2193/EU) was transposed into UK legislation via the following amendments:

  • England and Wales: Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2018;
  • Northern Ireland: Pollution Prevention and Control (Industrial Emissions) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2018; and
  • Scotland: Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2017.

The MCPD regulates pollutant emissions that are a result of the combustion of fuels in Medium Combustion Plants. Medium Combustion Plants, or MCPs, are plant with a rated thermal input greater than or equal to 1MWth and less than 50MWth. Specified Generators are a subcategory of MCPs that generate electricity for more than 50 hours per annum (including any testing required) or export electricity to the grid.

Requirements of the MCPD (England and Wales)

Pollutant emissions regulated under the MCPD are oxides of nitrogen (NOx), sulphur dioxide (SO2), and dust in order to reduce harm to environment, human health and assist in meeting legally-binding emission reduction targets. Either a standard rules or bespoke permit will be required for new and existing MCPs as well as Tranche A and B Specified Generators. New MCPs, existing MCPs, Tranche A and Tranche B are defined as:

  • MCPs:
    • New: any plant commencing operation for the first time after 20 December 2018
    • Existing: any plant which commenced operation before 20 December 2018
  • Specified Generators:
    • Tranche A: generators that were in operation before 1st December 2016 or benefit from capacity agreements from the 2014 and 2015 capacity market auctions or generators <1MWth with capacity agreements from the 2016 capacity market auction
    • Tranche B: specified generators that do not fall within the Tranche A category as described above

There are also rules for MCP aggregation, or the combining of thermal input ratings:

  • New MCPs: where there is more than one MCP, the thermal input rating must be aggregated. For example, two boilers with a thermal input rating of 0.75MWth would fall within the scope of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations as their aggregated thermal input would be 1.5MWth
  • Existing MCPs: thermal input ratings are not aggregated. For example, two existing boilers with thermal input rating of 0.75MWth would fall outside the scope of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations as the thermal input ratings would not be aggregated.

Dates by which operators of MCPs and Specified Generators must obtain an environmental permit are dependent on multiple factors. Figures 1 and 2 below provide key dates.

Figure 1. Key Dates for MCPs

Figure 2. Key Dates for Specified Generators

There are some exemptions based on requirements for environmental permits and ELVs. A detailed list of these exemptions can be found on the Environment Agency’s Guidance on MCPs and Specified Generators. The NI and Scottish regulations are slightly different to the above, but guidance can be found here:

Are you responsible for a combustion plant? Did you already know about the MCPD?

Recent Insights

Fortnightly Bulletin - 26th February 2024

Fortnightly Bulletin - 26th February 2024

Two-thirds of councils are not confident they will be able to fund the additional services required to implement simpler recycling reforms, according to a survey by the District Council Network.

Fortnightly Bulletin - 12th February 2024

Fortnightly Bulletin - 12th February 2024

Amazon has announced that it has signed a Corporate Power Purchase Agreement (CPPA) with ENGIE, regarding Ocean Winds’ Moray West offshore wind farm in Scotland.

Fortnightly Bulletin - 29th January 2024

Fortnightly Bulletin - 29th January 2024

The Environment Agency has updated the guidance for the food and drink sector. The pollution inventory is used to report releases and transfers from industrial activities that the Environment Agency regulates. 

Bulletin Subscription

Subscribe to our FREE fortnightly Environmental Bulletin for news and updates on the environmental industry.

© 2024 Environmental Monitoring Solutions Ltd