The European Commission has proposed to review all permits of large combustion plants in a bid to tackle pollution.
That include power stations and district heating plants, which are said to be responsible for around one-third of air pollutants from industry.
Large combustion plants, with a total thermal input of more than 50MW, irrespective of the type of fuel used, are the biggest sectoral emitters in the EU.
The Commission therefore believes more cost-effective and technically feasible reductions of emissions are required.
It states more than 30% of EU citizens are exposed to air pollutant levels above EU standards and more than 90% are exposed to pollution levels above World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.
For all affected installations – around 3,500 in the 28 Member States – the Commission proposes a review of their permits must take place within four years so that by mid-2021, stricter EU-wide standards for all large combustion plants will be met.
Under the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED), Member States have an obligation to ensure large industrial facilities are operated in accordance with environmental permits.
Such permits are required to be based on the application of the ‘Best Available Technique’ (BAT).
The document states: “These are techniques that are environmentally performing, economically viable and technically proven and developed through a transparent and thorough process over several years with EU Member States, industry and environmental NGOs.”