UK calls for delay to stricter coal pollution rules

20th October 2016 | Commercial Energy

The UK has joined Poland and a small group of other EU countries lobbying to delay tougher pollution rules for coal power stations ahead of discussions in Brussels this week. Poland, Greece, Finland and the Czech Republic are believed by Therese Coffey, UK Environment Minister, to want to be given more time for “comprehensive consideration” or the significant of new limits to be set under the EU’s main industry pollution law, the Industrial Emissions Directive.

This was in a letter which was written in September, and suggested the commission set up a technical working group to do more assessment of the rules before EU countries decide on them in a vote due early next year.

Environmental campaigners claim that this is part of a continuing effort to delay or water down pollution limits that could save thousands of lives and should have been adopted a couple of years ago. The previous Conservative government pledged to phase out coal power by 2025, so Britain’s position is difficult to understand: Anton Lazarus of the European Environmental Bureau campaign group, said, “There is already a technical working group and the whole process has been going on for more than two years. It seems they just want to totally limit the amount of hoops they might have to leap through.”

Exemptions permitted under the existing requirements have enabled countries including the UK to operate coal power stations that exceed the industrial emissions directive’s limits for harmful pollutants such as nitrogen oxides. The use of these measures has allowed more than half of Europes’ coal power plants to exceed the limits, according to a report by environmental groups that says proposed new rules could potentially cut the number of premature deaths caused by coal power stations from 22,900 to 2,600 a year.

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