asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they propose to amend the regulations relating to coal-fired electricity generation to ensure that power stations equipped to burn coal cleanly are not placed at disadvantage in the market.
The Government do not plan to amend the regulations relating to coal-fired electricity generation. The relevant system is that of integrated pollution control ("IPC"), established through the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the regulations made under that Act.
IPC requires that operators apply the best available techniques not entailing excessive cost (BATNEEC) for pollution control to their processes. The Environment Agency has carried out a review of the IPC authorisations issued to operators of coal-fired power stations that did not have flue gas desulphurisation equipment fitted. If the operator was unable to present a good BATNEEC justification for not using the abatement, they were limited to a 40 per cent load factor in 2001 and 2002. The next principal review of these authorisations is likely to be carried out in 2003–04 to secure further reductions in emissions of sulphur dioxide in 2004–05. This review will consider how to avoid commercially disadvantaged power stations that are equipped to burn coal cleanly, and to avoid benfiting power stations that are not.
The system of IPC is being superseded on a sector by sector basis by that of integrated pollution prevention and control established by a European directive of the same name. This requires operators to apply best available techniques (BAT) for pollution prevention and control. Large power stations will transfer to it in 2006.