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Medium Combustion Plant Directive FAQ

11 August 2021

Do you have questions regarding the MCPD (Medium Combustion Plant Directive)? Take a look at our FAQ to learn more and find out the purpose of MCPD legislation and whether it applies to your business.

What is the MCPD?

MCPD stands for Medium Combustion Plant Directive.

The Medium Combustion Plant Directive is legislation which regulates emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and dust into the air from a Medium Combustion Plant. This is because Medium Combustion Plants and Specified Generators are a major source of air pollutants that may cause harm to human health and the environment (EA).

What is a Medium Combustion Plant?

A Medium Combustion Plant is an individual combustion plant with a rated thermal input greater than or equal to 1MW, but less than 50MW.

A medium combustion plant (MCP) includes any piece of plant which burns a fuel in order to use the heat for a process, such as an engine, boiler or turbine.  These MCPs could also include any of the following:

  • any abatement fitted to control emissions
  • the attached stack or flue
  • air cooling where it’s part of the combustion unit  (

What does the MCPD mean for me?

The Medium Combustion Plant Directive (MCPD) has expanded the requirements for Environmental Permits to include smaller sizes of plant which weren’t previously covered by environmental legislation. It now includes new and existing plants with over 1MWth input. These updated permitting requirements are still being overlooked by many businesses across the UK.

Does the MCPD apply to my business?

If your MCP has a thermal input between 1MW and 50MW and if it started operating before 20th December 2018, the MCP is classed as an existing MCP.

If it’s an existing MCP and the capacity is between 5MWth and 50MWth you must have a permit in place by the 1st January 2024.

If it’s an existing MCP and the capacity is between 1MWth and less than 5MWth, the deadline is 1st January 2029 to have a permit in place.


How do I comply with MCPD?

If you need a permit, before you apply you must check what ELV (Emission Limit Value) your MCP must meet. The ELV the MCP must meet is based on its type, such as if it’s new or existing, the fuel it burns and technology it uses. The MCP may also need to meet a stricter ELV, such as when the MCP, including a mobile MCP deployment, is located within:

  • a local authority Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) air quality zone
  • the minimum distance to a designated habitat site

    If you are still unsure whether the MCPD applies to you, see our handy Flow Diagram for more information, or contact Martin Binnie on 0114 272 2270 or at

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