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.

Element can 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 dependant 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.

MCPD – 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.


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