The Medium Combustion Plant Directive (MCPD) forms part of the European Union’s Clean Air Policy Package. It regulates emissions of dust, NOx and SO2 to reduce air pollution and the risk to human health and the environment.

MCPD provides a regulatory framework stipulating air Emission Limit Values (ELVs) for SO2, NOx, and dust. It imposes permitting, monitoring, and emission compliance requirements on Medium Combustion Plants (MCP) with a thermal input of between 1 and 50 MWth, regardless of the type of fuel used. These include engines, gas turbines, boilers (that operate as a CHP) for residential, domestic, or industrial purposes.

We support clients in the UK and Ireland with emission testing to demonstrate compliance with MCPD ELVs and give expert guidance throughout the permitting process and planning applications.


MCPD Environmental Permits

There are three types of permit for a stationary or mobile MCP:

  • standard rules permit (SRP) – low risk
  • simple bespoke – low risk / does not require air dispersion modeling
  • complex bespoke permit – high risk / requires air dispersion modeling

Suppose you cannot meet the conditions in a standard rules permit, you must apply for a bespoke permit and conduct an air quality emissions risk assessment to quantify the impact on sensitive receptors and habitats. While all new plants require a MCPD Permit and Emissions Monitoring from the start, there is a transition phase for existing units depending on their thermal input:

  • New Plant (1 to 50 MWth): Act Now
  • Existing Plant (> 15 MWth): Act Now
  • Existing Plant (5 to 15 MWth): Transition phase ends in 2022
  • Existing Plant (< 5 MWth): Transition phase ends in 2027


Monitoring Requirements and Emissions Testing

Operators must test emissions from each unit to demonstrate compliance with emission limits. For new and existing MCP you must start monitoring within four months of the permit issue (or the start of operations). Operators are required to conduct periodic monitoring at least every three years. Emissions monitoring parameters are fuel dependent but typically compose:

  • Gas-fired processes - NOx with addition of CO (typically) but not subject to an ELV.
  • Biogas or solid fuels - NOx, dust and SO2.

The permit will specify the monitoring methods you must use, and Element can conduct the testing in accordance with international standards:

  • Oxides of Nitrogen (NO and NO2 expressed as NO2) – BS EN 14791
  • Carbon Monoxide – BS EN 15058
  • Dust – BS EN 13284-1
  • Sulphur Dioxide – BS EN 14791

Where dust emissions monitoring is undertaken, this requires the use of isokinetic testing methods. It is important to note the access requirements for equipment and personnel are prescriptive to ensure samples are taken safely and in accordance with MCERTS.


The Element advantage

Element is the largest provider of ISO 17025 UKAS and MCERTS accredited testing in the UK and Ireland, operating from 9 regional laboratories.

For more information about MCPD emissions testing, or to know more about our MCERTS accredited stack emissions testing services, contact us today.

MCPD whitepaper

Download our MCPD white paper

For guidance on compliance challenges regarding the Medium Combustion Plant Directive (MCPD) download our white paper today.

This white paper deep dives into the Medium Combustion Plant Directive (MCPD) and includes information on compliance requirements, monitoring requirements, regulators, and timeframes. 


Our services

Find out about our full range of emissions advisory, testing and training services

Ambient Air Quality Modelling and Dispersion

Ambient Air Quality Modeling and Dispersion

Find out how we help our customers comply with regulations for ambient air quality and dispersion modeling.

Fugitive Emissions Testing

Fugitive Emissions

Find out how we help our customers comply with all relevant UK stack emissions regulations with fugitive emissions monitoring for airborne particulates.

Stack Emissions Testing

Stack Emissions Testing

Find out how our stack emissions testing services help our customers to prevent exposure, reduce emissions, improve air quality and achieve regulatory compliance for the industrial installations they operate.

Read More
Stack Emissions Testing

Medium Combustion Plant Directive

Element supports clients in the UK and Ireland with emission testing to demonstrate compliance with MCPD and give guidance throughout the permitting process.

Read More
Indoor Air Quality Assessments

Indoor Air Quality Assessments

Find out how our qualified occupational hygienists can assess indoor air quality looking at chemical, physical, and biological parameters to help our customers comply with regulations.

Bioaerosols Monitoring

Bioaerosols Monitoring

Find out how Element helps our customers to comply with the UK Environment Agency’s Technical Guidance Note M2 to minimize exposure to bioaerosols.

Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Testing and Analysis

VOC Testing

Element provides testing for a wide range of Volatile Organic Compounds in drinking water, groundwater, surface water, soil, and waste.

Read More
Stack Emissions Testing

Siloxane Monitoring

Element offers siloxane sampling and analysis services to accurately evaluate the levels of siloxanes in filter systems.

Read More
Stack Emissions Testing

Biogas Engine and Flare Emissions Monitoring

Find out how we help our customers with their annual monitoring of biogas engine and flare emissions from plants.

emission digital portal

e-Mission Portal for Stack Emission Testing

Find out more about e-Mission portal, our groundbreaking industry online tool allowing you to plan and track your stack emission testing programs and trend your data.

Emissions Residence Time Verification

Residence Time Verification

Find out more about our Residence Time services, offering verification of two seconds residence time within secondary combustion chambers for waste incinerators.

Emissions Biogenic Carbon 14 Monitoring

Biogenic Carbon 14 Emissions Monitoring

Find out more about our OFGEM approved Biogenic Carbon 14 Measurement services, used to determine the renewable energy content of waste-derived fuels.

Stack Emissions Testing

Landfill Gas Monitoring

Supporting operators of landfills and waste management companies with monitoring the migration of gases to prevent a negative impact on environmental and human health.


Our team of over 6,000 Engaged Experts in North America, Europe, The Middle East, Australia, Asia and Africa are ready to help you.

Contact The Element Team