A combustion plant is a device in which fuels are burned to make use of the heat generated. This includes boilers, turbines, and engines. The term medium is a reference to the size of the combustion plant.
The burning of fuels in these devices gives rise to emissions of various pollutants into the air, which can include particulates (dust), nitrogen and sulphur oxides, and carbon monoxide. The purpose of the Medium Combustion Plant Regulations is to limit these emissions in order to help improve air quality to the benefit of the environment and human health.
The regulations require registration of medium combustion plant except where it is already included on a site holding an Industrial Emissions Licence (IEL) or an Integrated Pollution Control (IPC) licence. More details on the legislation is given below.
The European Union (Medium Combustion Plant) Regulations 2017 were signed into law in December 2017. Their purpose is to limit emissions to the atmosphere from boilers and other stationary combustion plants in the 1-50 MWTH (thermal input) range. It covers all fuel types. The Regulations transpose the Medium Combustion Plant (MCP) Directive (EU 2015/2193) which was adopted in 2015.
The regulations limit the level of emissions allowable from Medium Combustion Plants (MCP). New MCP are required to comply with specified Emission Limit Values (ELVs) or limits on annual hours of operation, from 20th December 2018, while operators of existing MCPs will not be required to comply with these limits until 2025 at the earliest. This will assist in limiting the impact on human health, vegetation and biodiversity which can be caused by air pollution. The regulations also specify additional requirements such as monitoring and reporting of emissions to the EPA.
Under the MCP Regulations, the EPA is required to establish and maintain a register of all MCP that come within the scope of the Regulations, unless the MCP is located on an installation controlled by an IED or IPC licence from the EPA. MCP which are not located on an IED or IPC licensed installation will need to be registered in accordance with the dates specified in the Regulations. The requirements of the regulations are administered by the EPA through the registration system, or through the relevant IED/IPC licences.
For operators of MCP which are within the scope of the Regulations, the following information is important and should be read carefully. It is also advised to read the Regulations in full, to fully understand what they require of MCP operators, and of the EPA.
Under the European Union (Medium Combustion Plant) Regulations 2017, the operator of a medium combustion plant shall apply to the Agency for registration in the MCP registration in the MCP register in accordance with the following time frames:
If you are proposing to operate an MCP for the first time on or after 20th December 2018, it is especially important that you understand the different requirements that apply to ‘new’ versus ‘existing’ MCP in the Regulations, please read our FAQs.
Under the MCP Regulations, the EPA is required to establish and maintain a register of all MCP that come within the scope of the Regulations unless the MCP is located on an installation controlled by an IED or IPC licence from the EPA. MCP which are not located on an IED or IPC licensed installation will need to be registered, in accordance with the dates specified in the Regulations.
In order to register an MCP, operators must complete the registration process through the online EDEN portal.
NOTE: If you are a first-time user of the EDEN portal, you will need to create a user login account using the Sign Up option, and follow the instructions provided. On signing up, you should request access to the MCP module. After this, you can log in via the EDEN portal to register a new MCP or to request changes to existing registrations. There are extensive user instructions in the Help section of the EDEN portal but if you require further assistance in relation to technical issues or queries on EDEN registration, please email us at email@example.com.
On receipt of all the required information, the Agency will register the MCP and issue a Certificate of Registration to the operator. The Agency will also add the MCP to the MCP Register. The MCP Register contains key information relating to the MCP including any relevant Emission Limit Values (ELVs), and it is advisable that the operator consults the MCP regulations to ensure they are fully informed of the requirements placed on the operator of a registered MCP. The operator should also check the applicable footnotes in the Regulations which may provide further information, such as the various exemptions, derogations and variations from the prescribed ELVs. For guidance on a standardised approach to monitoring the emissions to atmosphere the operator should refer to the Agency Guidance Note on monitoring of Stack Gas Emissions from Medium Combustion Plants: Air Guidance No. 11 (AG11).
You can view the MCP Register online. This register contains the key information relating to MCPs.
For further queries please see our FAQs or contact us at:
Tel: 053 9160600
The Medium Combustion Plant Regulations were signed into law in December 2017. Their purpose is to limit emissions to atmosphere from boilers and other stationary combustion plants in the 1-50 MWth (thermal input) range. It covers all fuel types. The Regulations transpose the Medium Combustion Plant (MCP) Directive ((EU) 2015/2193) which was adopted in 2015.
The regulations limit the level of emissions allowable from new combustion plants from 20th December 2018, while operators of existing MCPs will have longer to comply with stricter emission standards. This will assist in limiting the impact on human health, vegetation and biodiversity which can be caused by air pollution.
Where do I go with additional queries?
Please send any additional queries to firstname.lastname@example.org using the subject heading ‘Medium Combustion Plant’.
What are the EPA requirements for monitoring emissions from MCP?
Monitoring of emissions to atmosphere
The European Union (Medium Combustion Plants) Regulations 2017 require that periodic monitoring of emissions to atmosphere from medium combustion plants is carried out. Air emissions sampling and analysis is a particularly difficult aspect of environmental monitoring, and specialist equipment is required to be used. Both the sampling and analysis stages of air emissions monitoring require a high level of competency and quality control. Most MCP facilities will not carry out their own air emissions monitoring, but will instead employ a specialist contractor to carry out the monitoring and provide a report, which can be submitted to the EPA. The EPA generally supports the approach of using external specialist service providers, and would not recommend that facilities attempt to carry out their own air emissions monitoring.
In order to ensure the generation of consistent, high quality and robust monitoring data from MCP facilities, it is a mandatory requirement that all air emissions monitoring carried out is performed by an ISO 17025 accredited air monitoring contractor. Accredited air emission monitoring contractors operating in Ireland either receive their accreditation from the Irish National Accreditation Board (INAB), or else they operate under the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS).
The details of the INAB ISO 17025 accredited air emissions monitoring contractors are as follows:
The Irish-based contractors who hold UKAS ISO17025 accreditation for air emissions monitoring are as follows:
You must ensure that the air monitoring contractor you intend to use for EPA compliance monitoring holds ISO17025 accreditation. The EPA will not accept monitoring results from a monitoring contractor, who does not hold accreditation to the ISO17025 standard.
What do MCP operators need to do now?
Anyone operating or planning to operate an MCP should ensure that they understand the obligations of the Regulations, in particular, the applicable ELVs. Pay attention to the associated footnotes, and the various exemptions and derogations that may be applicable.
Operators planning to buy or install new MCP should ensure that new plants are specified to meet the ‘new plant’ ELVs set out in Schedule 2 Part 2 of the Regulations.
Operators of existing MCPs should monitor SO2, NOx, dust and CO emissions to determine whether specific measures will be required to achieve compliance. These operators have until January 2025 (5- 50 MWth) or January 2030 (1 – 5 MWth) to achieve compliance.
Are there any other exemptions or derogations?
There is a range of exemptions, derogations, and variations from the default limit values, which are set out in Regulations 11, 12 and 13, and in the footnotes in Schedule 2.
What about emergency generators?
The regulations make special provision for MCP such as emergency generators, which operate intermittently or rarely. Where these MCP operate less than 500 hours per year (as a rolling average over 5 years), they are exempt from some of the specified ELVs but there is still a requirement [Schedule 3, Part 1] to measure carbon monoxide. Where necessary, for environmental protection, the regulations allow the EPA to reduce this number of hours in specific circumstances for specific plant (similar to the provisions for reducing ELVs). [See Regulations 13(1), 13(3) and 20(4)(c)].