New permitting requirements for medium combustion plants in Scotland published
Published: 08 Mar 2018

New Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations SSI 2017/446 came into force on 19 December 2017 and introduce permitting requirements for medium combustion plants (MCPs).

Permits will be required from 20 December 2018 for new MCPs with a rated thermal input equal to or greater than 1 megawatt and less than or equal to 20 megawatts, and there will be a phased in approach for permits for existing equipment based on the rated thermal output of the equipment. The amendments also include emission limits which MCPs must comply with.

Permitting requirements for medium combustion plants

A medium combustion plant (MCP) means a combustion plant with a rated thermal input equal to or greater than 1 megawatt but less than 50 megawatts.

Permits or registration will be required for:

  • new MCPs with a rated thermal input equal to or greater than 1 megawatt and less than or equal to 20 megawatts, from 20 December 2018;
  • existing MCPs with a rated thermal input greater than 5 megawatts, from 1 January 2024;
  • existing MCPs with a rated thermal input of less than or equal to 5 megawatts, from 1 January 2029.

 An application for a permit to operate an existing MCP must be received by SEPA by:

  • 30 June 2023, where the rated thermal input of the plant is greater than 5 megawatts and less than or equal to 20 megawatts;
  • 30 June 2028, where the rated thermal input of the plant is less than or equal to 5 megawatts.

From:

  • 1 January 2025, MCPs with a rated thermal input greater than 5 megawatts;
  • 1 January 2030, MCPs with a rated thermal input less than or equal to 5 megawatts,

must not exceed the emission limit values specified in relation to sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and dust, subject to specified exceptions.

An existing MCP is exempt from these requirements if either the plant does not operate more than:

  • 500 hours per year (calculated as a rolling average over a period of 5 years); or
  • 1000 hours per year (calculated as a rolling average over a period of 5 years) and the plant is operated in case of emergency or extraordinary circumstances for:
    • backup power production in connected islands in the event of an interruption of the main power supply to an island, or
    • heat production in cases of exceptionally cold weather events.

For more information see the:

  • Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations SSI 2012/360.