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Medium Combustion Plant Directive (MCPD): do you have the correct permits?

Maria Francis Senior Consultant
Maria Francis

Maria has experience working on a wide variety of permit applications, including those for waste management facilities, industrial installations and medium combustion plants and specified generators. Maria can provide support and knowledge for permitting applications through advising for regulatory requirements and data analysis. As well as this, Maria has can provide support working on all aspects of a permit, including Best Available Techniques Assessment, Operating Techniques and Fire Prevention Plans.

This briefing note summarises the requirements for operators of combustion plants that fall under the Medium Combustion Plant Directive (MCDP) and Specified Generator regulations and gives an update of the key dates for complying with the regulations to be aware of. 

Understanding the Requirements 

The Medium Combustion Plant Directive (MCPD) forms part of the EU’s Clean Air Policy and fills a regulatory gap between small and large combustion plant, targeting emissions from combustion plants of between 1 and 50MWth input. 

The Environmental Permitting Regulations (England and Wales) were amended in 2018 to implement the requirements of the MCPD. When transposing the requirements of the MCPD into the EPR, Defra introduced additional controls for Specified Generators (SG)s. In short, the amendments require operators to obtain and comply with the conditions of an environmental permit if they operate a MCP or SG, with a small number of exemptions. Both the MCP and SG controls are implemented by the EPR. 

Specified Generators (SGs) are those MCPs that generate electricity for >50hrs per annum (incl. testing) or export electricity to the grid.  

Large Combustion Plants (LCPs) with an aggregated rated thermal input capacity (MWth) over 50MWth regulated as IED Chapter II and III plant are exempt from the requirements of the SG Controls.  

Key Dates 

MCPD controls apply to all MCP regardless of the fuel type used, which have a rated thermal input of each unit between 1MWth and 50MWth. SG controls, unless excluded, apply to generators with a rated thermal input between 1MWth and 50MWth. You may find that your plant must comply under both the MCPD and SG requirements. If this is the case, then your plant must be permitted by the earliest relevant permitting date. There are several factors which vary the date which you are required to have your MCPD or SG permit in place. 

MCPs key dates
SGs key dates

Should I have a Permit? 

In line with the MCPD and SG requirements, you should already have obtained a permit for your site if you are; 

  • Operating a new MCP; 

  • Operating a Tranche B specified generator; or  

  • Operating a Tranche A SG between 5-50MW and have NOx emissions above 500mg/Nm3 operating at more than 50hr per annum. 

If you wish to commission a new MCP or enter into a new capacity market agreement which causes your plant to become a Tranche B SG, you are required to obtain a permit before the commissioning date. 

In line with the EPR, the next set of permitting dates are for; 

  • Existing MCPs above 5MW, which are required to permitted by 01.01.2024; and 

  • Remaining Tranche A SG between 5MWth and 50MWth, which are required to permitted by 01.01.2025. 

SLR can offer numerous services for the Environmental Permitting of your MCP or SG such as:  

  • Review your site and advise on MCP and SG status and advise on appropriate emission limits and monitoring requirements for your plant; 

  • Review existing and planned plant, and advise on the ability to comply with permitting requirements; 

  • Provide guidance on the need for, type of, and process for obtaining environmental permits; 

  • Prepare the environmental permit application for your plant; and 

  • Undertake air quality dispersion modelling for your plant. 


If you require further information or wish to discuss how we can provide support please get in touch. 

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