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Environment Agency confirms policy on compliance

With the Large Combustion Plants Directive from January 1, 2008. The Environment Agency expects existing Large Combustion Plants (LCPs) (that is, those first permitted before 1 July 1987) to comply with the requirements of the Large Combustion Plants Directive (LCPD) from 1 January 2008. The Environment Agency will consider enforcement action for failures to comply as set out under our Enforcement and Prosecution Policy.

Opted-out LCPs will commence operation under a limited load factor of 20,000 stack operational hours and closure by 31 December 2015.

Opted-in LCPs have three compliance routes available. These are:-

Operation under the NERP. This provides annual allowances for each participant which are based on historical operation of the plants. A trading scheme is to be introduced on 1 January 2008 by which those allowances can be transferred between participating LCPs. Further information on the i) NERP can be found on Defra's website at http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/airquality/eu-int/eu-directives/lcpd/index.htm and for the ii) Trading Scheme on the Environment Agency's website at http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/business/1745440/444671/466158/1208487/1904095/?version=1)

· Compliance with the Emission Limit Values set out in the Directive and contained in the PPC permits

· Operation under the requirements of Article 5(1); the 2,000 limited hours option. This allows a higher limit for emissions of sulphur dioxide from LCPs with a thermal input greater than 400MW

Where existing plants who have opted to comply with the Emission Limit Value approach cannot do so on 1 January 2008 the Environment Agency will accept temporary operation under Article 5(1). The Article 5(1) limits are expressed as a number of operational hours a year (rolling average over a period of five years). It does not contain any minimum time limits for the reduced level of operation.

Therefore the Environment Agency considers it reasonable for Article 5(1) to be applied on a shorter time period provided that:-

· it is pro-rated over a reasonable compliance period (at a minimum monthly) and

· to be compliant an operator must remain under the Article 5(1) derogation until the rolling average is brought within the pro-rated limits.

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