Find out if Medium Combustion Plant Directive (MCPD) or specified generator regulations apply to your operations.
The MCPD aims to improve air quality by controlling emissions to air. It sets emission limits for these pollutants:
- nitrogen oxides – NOx
- sulphur dioxide – SO2
MCPD and specified generator regulations apply to some Part B activities, in particular for sections:
- 1.1 – combustion activities
- 5.1 – incineration of waste wood
When MCPD and specified generator regulations apply
To work out if the regulations apply to your combustion plant you’ll need to know:
- its rated thermal input
- its type
- the material it burns
- if it generates electricity
Some medium combustion plants (MCPs) and generators are excluded from the regulations. Read the guidance to check for exclusions:
Follow these steps to find out if MCPD and specified generator regulations apply to your combustion plant and whether it’s also a Part B.
Step 1: capacity
Combustion plant capacity is defined by its rated thermal input. It’s calculated using the net calorific value (CV) not the gross CV. You can ask the manufacturer for this value or you can calculate it using Association of Manufacturers of Power generating Systems (AMPS) method.
MCPD and specified generator regulations may apply to your combustion plant if it’s not excluded and the rated thermal input is:
- between 20MWth and 50MWth – go to step 2
- between 1MWth and 20MWth – go to step 3
- less than 1MWth if it generates electricity and is aggregated to a site specified generator
If it’s 50MWth or more MCPD and specified regulations do not apply. You’ll need an A1 installations permit.
Step 2: type of plant
MCPD regulations apply and it’s also a Part B section 1.1 if you have one of these types of combustion plant:
- gas turbine
- compression ignition engine
Go to step 4 to see if specified generator regulations also apply.
If your plant is not one of these types and is between 20MWth and 50MWth you need to read the guidance Medium combustion plant: when you need a permit. MCPD regulations may apply to your plant, but you will not need a Part B permit.
Step 3: plant burns waste biomass
Waste biomass is defined in IED Article 31(3)(b).
If your plant does not burn waste biomass and is between 1MWth and 20MWth you need to read the guidance Medium combustion plant: when you need a permit. MCPD regulations may apply to your plant but you will not need a Part B permit.
If your plant does burn waste biomass and its capacity is less than 3 tonnes per hour, MCPD regulations apply and your plant is also a Part B section 5.1.
MCP of 1MWth equates to around 200 to 250 kilograms per hour depending on the calorific value of the waste. Plants under 1MWth do not need a MCPD permit.
Go to step 4 to see if specified generator regulations also apply.
If your plant’s capacity is 3 tonnes per hour or more (equivalent to around 15 to 18MWth depending on the calorific value of the waste) it’s a Part A1 activity. Read the guidance for Part A1 installations.
If you already have an environmental permit you may need to vary it to include MCPD requirements. You’ll need to do this from the date your combustion plant qualifies. If you’re applying for a new Part A1 installation permit the regulators will include MCPD requirements in your permit conditions. As part of your application you’ll need to submit information showing you can meet the required emission limit values (ELVs).
Step 4: plant generates electricity
If your plant also generates electricity, it’s a Part B and both MCPD and specified generator regulations apply.
If it does not generate electricity, your plant is a Part B and MCPD regulations apply.
Dates for meeting MCPD and specified generator requirements
You need to check the date from which you must meet MCPD and specified generator requirements.
If your MCP was put into operation from 20 December 2018, it’s classed as ‘new’. You must have a permit and meet the requirements from 20 December 2018 or from the date you commission your MCP.
If your MCP was put into operation before 20 December 2018, it’s classed as ‘existing’. This means you qualify for more time to:
- apply for your permit
- vary your current Part B permit
- meet the requirements
The deadlines are:
- 1 January 2025 for MCP with a capacity of 5MWth to less than 50MWth
- 1 January 2030 for MCP with a capacity of 1MWth to less than 5MWth
For the detail see the guidance Medium combustion plant: when you need a permit.
Tranche A or B specified generator
Your generator is classed as Tranche A and means you have more time to meet the requirements, if one of these apply:
- it was put into operation before 1 December 2016
- any capacity agreement or balancing services or Feed-in Tariff contract ended before 1 October 2017
All other generators are classed as Tranche B. They’re usually new builds or operating under an agreement or contract after 1 October 2017. They must meet the requirements by 1 January 2019.
Check the latest deadlines for Tranche B generators in NRW’s Regulatory Decision: Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 Schedule 25B, Tranche B Specified Generator permitting date for sites in Wales.
For the detail see the guidance Specified generators: when you need a permit.
When both MCP and specified generator regulations apply
You’ll need to:
- meet the requirements with the stricter emission limits
- get your permit by the earliest date set in the regulations
More than one activity
If the MCP is a directly associated activity to a different Part B or A(2) installation outside of sections 1.1 and 5.1 you’ll need 2 permits:
- a Local Air Pollution Prevention and Control permit for the primary activity from the local authority
- a MCPD standalone environmental permit to meet MCPD requirements from the Environment Agency or Natural Resources Wales (NRW)
The MCPD regulators will consult the relevant local authority on the MCPD permit conditions.
When a BAT assessment is required
A Best Available Technique (BAT) assessment is required for MCPs that are:
- on a Part A1 and A2 regulated installation and one or more MCP is part of the whole installation
- part of a Part B installation – BAT applies to the whole installation, but for air emissions only
MCPD ELVs are set as a minimum standard on all other MCPs unless they’re exempt from meeting ELVs. See the guidance Complying with MCPD emission limit values.
The regulator will do the BAT assessment.
Apply for a Section 5.1 or 1.1 Part B permit
Before you apply for your permit you will need to read the statutory guidance. Defra will publish these documents in the near future:
- process guidance note (PGN) 1/1 (18) – combustion plant of capacity 20MWth to 50MWth
- PGN 5/1 (18) – incineration or combustion of waste wood
You will be able to use these PGNs for:
- a description of BAT for these activities, including mandatory requirements
- a list of techniques that can be used
- what may be included as permit conditions
You’ll need to apply for a bespoke MCPD or specified generator environmental permit. See guidance on how to apply for a:
Complete form part C2.5 for a new MCP that was previously a section 1.1 or 5.1 Part B activity.
In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, Part B activities are currently regulated by local authorities. Where an activity is both Part B and MCP or specified generator, from the date your combustion plant qualifies, they are regulated by:
- Environment Agency for England
- NRW for Wales
- Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) for Northern Ireland
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is the regulator for all of these activities in Scotland.
Contact your regulator
Contact the Environment Agency
National Customer Contact Centre
PO Box 544
Telephone 03708 506 506
Telephone from outside the UK (Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm GMT) +44 (0) 114 282 5312
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm