European Union Large Combustion Plant Directive

From Global Energy Monitor

The European Union Large Combustion Plant Directive sets emission standards for member countries for nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide and particulates from all power stations with an installed capacity greater than 50 megawatts. Under the directive legislation power stations that don't meet the specified emission standards must either retrofit appropriate pollution control equipment or close down. Under the directive, plants that 'opt out' of meeting the new standards can operate for a maximum of 20,000 hours after January 2008 and, at the latest, must be shut down by 2015.


The UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) notes on its website that "the LCPD aims to reduce acidification, ground level ozone and particles throughout Europe by controlling emissions of sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) and dust (particulate matter (PM)) from large combustion plants (LCPs) in power stations, petroleum refineries, steelworks and other industrial processes running on solid, liquid or gaseous fuel. These pollutants are major contributors to acid deposition, which acidifies soils and freshwater bodies, damages plants and aquatic habitats, and corrodes building materials."[1]

"NOx reacts with volatile organic compounds in the presence of sunlight to form ozone that can adversely affect human health and ecosystems. SO2, NOx and particles can travel long distances from their sources before being deposited onto land, surface waters or oceans, or forming ozone. Emissions from the UK contribute to pollution problems in other Member States, while Germany, Netherlands, France, Ireland and Belgium are the principal non-domestic contributors to sulphur and nitrogen deposition in the UK. A Europe-wide approach to reducing these pollutants and their impact is therefore required," DEFRA states.[1]


In October 2011, it was reported that half of Britain's stations, representing 8pc of Britain's capacity, are likely to shut because they will have been burning fuel for too many hours – more than 20,000 in total since 2008, which is the maximum allowed by the European Union Large Combustion Plant Directive. New Government estimates show the Cockenzie Power Station, owned by Scottish Power, is likely to have to close completely by April 2012. Kingsnorth Power Station, owned by E.ON, is on track to have to shut by March 2013. Tilbury Power Station, which is being converted into a biomass station by RWE nPower, may have to shut by July 2013 unless it can convince the European Union (EU) its new fuel is cleaner.[2]

On March 22 2013 RWE announced that the plant had been disconnected from the grid after having run for its total entitlement of 20,000 hours after opting out of the EU Large Combustion Directive.[3][4]

See European Union Large Combustion Plant Directive - Coal plants slated for closure for a breakdown on the plants affected.

Articles and Resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (UK), "Air quality - European Directives: Large Combustion Plant Directive", Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs website, accessed June 2008.
  2. Rowena Mason, "UK coal power stations set to close up to four years early" The Telegraph, Sep. 30, 2011.
  3. "Powering the nation for 43 years – farewell from Didcot A Power Station", RWE npower, Media Release, March 22, 2013.
  4. Graham Thompson,"Blair's legacy to be demolished", Greenpeace UK, March 22, 2013.

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