The European Commission is to review all permits to district heating plants and power stations as part of a plan to further tackle pollution.

Power stations and district heating plants are said to be responsible for around one-third of air pollutants from industry, with large combustion plants, with a total thermal input of more than 50MW the biggest sectoral emitters in the EU.
European Commission
The Commission now believes that economical and technically feasible reductions are both required and possible.

The document for the proposal states: “These are techniques that are environmentally performing, economically viable and technically proven and developed through a transparent and thorough process over several years with EU Member States, industry and environmental NGOs.”

According to the Commission, more than 30 per cent of EU citizens are exposed to air pollutant levels above EU standards and more than 90 per cent are exposed to pollution levels above World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.

For all affected installations – around 3,500 in the 28 Member States – the Commission proposes a review of their permits must take place within four years so that by mid-2021, stricter EU-wide standards for all large combustion plants will be met.

Under the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED), Member States have an obligation to ensure large industrial facilities are operated in accordance with environmental permits.

Such permits are required to be based on the application of the ‘Best Available Technique’ (BAT).