Air Quality Permitting Update for Medium Combustion Plant (MCPs) and Specified Generators (SG)

Earlier this year, the Environment Agency (EA) issued a Briefing Note: Existing MCP and SG Phase II preparations update – England only with the aim to implement new MCP permit requirements in response to Schedule 25 of the Environmental Permitting Regulations (England and Wales). Updates allow for permitting obligations for MCP and SG to be met in phases depending on the capacity of the combustion plant and the date it was brought into operation.

EA Permitting requirements for Phase II are as follows:

  • Existing standalone MCP’s between 5-50MWth must be permitted by 1/1/2024 and comply with ELV’s by 1/1/2025
  • Existing MCP between 5-50MWth listed as a Directly Associated Activity (DAA) must have MCP and SG emission limit values applied to their permit and comply by 1/1/2025
  • Remaining tranche A 5-50MWth generators must be permitted and comply by 01/01/2025

Air Quality Issues
The potential environmental issues with these facilities is almost exclusively Air Quality, specifically emissions from exhaust stacks. MCP and SG are major sources of air pollutants such as sulphur dioxide (SOx), nitrogen oxide (NOx) and dust that have the potential to cause harm to human health, the environment, and the economy.

How can our Air Quality Team help you obtain a MCP Permit?
Our Air Quality Team have the skills and experience to provide advice on, and undertake air quality assessments using advanced dispersion modelling software, AERMOD in order to meet permitting requirements for the operation of MCP or SG. We have been involved in both preparing permits for clients, as well as determining MCP permit applications with a dedicated staff member of the Air Quality team seconded to the EA full time as a Permitting Officer!

Wardell Armstrong has carried out similar projects for a series of detailed air quality assessments to accompany applications for Environmental Permit variations at a number of existing landfill sites. In accordance with requirements of the Medium Combustion Plant Directive (MCPD), it was necessary for some of the existing gas engines to be upgraded to meet the latest emissions standards.

The cumulative air quality impacts of both the existing and proposed gas engines were assessed at nearby human and ecological receptors, taking into account both the air quality objectives, and relevant Critical Levels and Critical Loads.

Where significant effects were predicted at a small number of habitat sites, Wardell Armstrong worked with both the client and the gas engine provider to refine the assessment results and identify potential mitigation to minimise the effects.

The air quality team also works closely with the dedicated Wardell Armstrong Permitting Team and can therefore provide assistance with the overall Environmental Permit application process, along with providing specific air quality advice.


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