EU Member States have voted in favour of tighter pollutant emissions limits for power plants.
The decision made last Friday means the volume of ammonia, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and heavy metals allowed to be produced by industrial facilities will be heavily reduced.
The new standards will require power plants to match the best available techniques for pollution control in their sectors – around 3,500 facilities are expected to be affected.
The countries that voted against the updated limits were Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. All other EU countries voted in favour.
A regulatory committee of EU national representatives approved the change, which now can be formally adopted by the European Commission. The new rules will begin to apply four years after the official decision is signed.
The EU has suggested if cutting emissions leads to disproportionate costs relative to the environmental benefits on offer, specific plants will be able to apply for exemptions.
An investment firm is to divest from companies which rely on coal for more than half of their revenue.