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Combustion Plants

House of Lords written question – answered on 10th January 2008.

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Photo of Lord Taylor of Holbeach Lord Taylor of Holbeach Shadow Minister, Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

asked Her Majesty's Government:

With reference to the Large Combustion Plants (National Emissions Reduction Plan) Regulations 2007 (SI 2007/2325), why, under Regulation 5, the Secretary of State must provide information on new plants annually but only include information on plants leaving the scheme in 1 January 2016 or 1 January 2018; and what estimate they have made of the effect of this arrangement on the reporting of emissions and their reduction.

Photo of Lord Rooker Lord Rooker Minister of State (Sustainable Farming, Food and Animal Welfare), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Sustainable Farming, Food and Animal Welfare)

Operators of plants subject to the Large Combustion Plants Directive (2001/80/EC—the "LCPD" hereinafter) have the option of participating in a national emissions reduction plan in accordance with Article 4(6) of the LCPD. Because the plan is long-term in nature, it is not considered conducive to its operation to allow plants whose operators exercise that option to be withdrawn from it at any time. Furthermore, even if a participating plant closes, it is necessary for its previous participation in it to remain recorded in the plan. This is so that it can be demonstrated that the closure does not result in an increase in the total annual emissions from the remaining plants covered by the plan.

However, in the light of responses to Defra's February 2007 consultation on the operation of the plan, we decided to provide an option for plants to be withdrawn from participation with effect from 1 January 2016 or 1 January 2018. These are the dates on which some of the emission limits set in the LCPD are tightened. Respondents pointed out that this may, in some cases, make it desirable for the plant to be withdrawn from the plan.

Under the plan, each plant has an annual emission allowance for each of the three pollutants covered by the LCPD. This is calculated as prescribed in the LCPD and the operator has to manage emissions so as not to exceed that allowance or that allowance plus any unused allowance the operator has acquired from another participating plant. Withdrawal of a plant from the plan at either of those dates will not change that requirement in the years prior to withdrawal nor the attendant reporting requirements. After withdrawal, the plant would be subject to emission limit values set in accordance with the LCPD and also the Integrated Pollution Prevention Control Directive (96/61/EC). The latter directive applies to all plants subject to the LCPD, whether or not they are in the national emission reduction plan.

The February 2007 consultation paper provides further detail on this rather complex issue. That and other pertinent information can be found on Defra's website.

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