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MEPS BACK DIRECTIVES ON LARGE COMBUSTION PLANTS AND EMISSION CEILINGS.

The European Parliament formally endorsed in Brussels on September 20 the agreement reached through the Conciliation Committee on July 3 on the draft Directives on the limitation of emissions of certain pollutants into the air from large combustion plants and on national emission ceilings for certain atmospheric pollutants (see European Report 2607 for further details). The first of these Directives introduces new stricter limits for emissions of three key pollutants (nitrogen oxide, sulphur dioxide and particulates) from large combustion plants. It will replace the existing Directive 88/609/EEC.The Directive on national emission ceilings aims more specifically to combat acidification, tropospheric ozone and eutrophisation. It sets national emission ceilings for four pollutants - sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, volatile organic compounds and ammoniac - and sets the long-term objective for 2020 of cleaner air, or more precisely, "protecting people against the health risks caused by air pollution". 2010 is the interim target date for achieving the binding limits set for each Member State. In a further success hailed by rapporteur Riitta Myller (PES, Finland), an ambitious review clause requires the Commission to report in 2004 and 2008 on the progress being made in meeting the targets. The national emissions proposal was approved on a show of hands.Parliament had held out during the two years of negotiations with Council to make the laws tougher. It succeeded at first reading in including older, dirtier plants in the Directive on large combustion plants which was originally intended only to cover power stations built after 1987. It won stringent caps on nitrogen oxide, sulphur oxide and dust emissions in exchange for concessions designed to save older, mostly coal-fired, plants from closure. The thorniest issue was the nitrogen oxide (NOx) cap. Under the compromise deal, the strict new NOx limit won by Parliament will apply to new and old plants from 2016 - a crucial benchmark for the Eastern European accession countries - but plants operating at peak times only will be exempt from it. Anthracite power plants will however have to apply it from 2018. Dutch rapporteur Ria Oomen-Ruijten (EPP-ED), responsible for steering the legislation on large combustion plants through Parliament (it was approved by 452 votes to 2, with 46 abstentions), said she was "very happy" with the outcome, "which goes well beyond what was possible before second reading".The two Directives should receive the Council's final blessing before the end of the month, probably at the Internal Market Council on September 27, after which they will be deemed to be adopted...JJ:(AME)

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Publication:European Report
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4EU
Date:Sep 26, 2001
Words:418
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