UK had largest number of polluting facilities in EU in 2015

The UK had the largest number of facilities releasing air and water pollution in Europe in 2015. According to the European Environment Agency, the UK had 14 facilities, followed by […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

The UK had the largest number of facilities releasing air and water pollution in Europe in 2015.

According to the European Environment Agency, the UK had 14 facilities, followed by Germany with 7 and France and Poland with 5 each.

Its analysis is based on latest data available for 2015, covering 35,000 facilities across Europe, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Serbia,

It also found wastewater treatment plants were responsible for the highest amount of total nitrogen, phosphorus and organic carbon released to water.

The most polluting of these facilities were located in the UK, France and Spain.

The EEA report states coal-fired power plants are responsible for the largest amount of key pollutants released into the atmosphere in Europe – including carbon dioxide (CO2), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx).

In 2015, Bełchatów (Poland) released the highest amount of the three pollutants.

Drax (UK), Jänschwalde (Germany) and Kozienice (Poland) were listed as the top polluting facilities for each of the three pollutants.

Coal remains the most used fuel in large combustion plants – power plants, refineries and chemical plants and steelworks – despite a decreasing amount being used over recent years.

The EEA adds these facilities have “significantly improved” their environmental performance over the past years, releasing fewer emissions per energy unit consumed.

The use of biomass in combustion plants remains low but has increased threefold between 2004 and 2015.