Trading scheme not cause of emissions dip

Emissions of dust, nitrogen oxides and sulphur dioxide covered by a trading scheme for large combustion plants fell significantly last year. But oversupplied allowances indicate the scheme was not behind the fall

Air pollution from large combustion plants covered by the UK’s National Emissions Reduction Plan (NERP) fell significantly last year. But the emissions trading scheme, which started in 2008, can take little credit for this.

Dust releases from the 84 plants fell by 11% compared with 2008. Oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions were down 8% and sulphur dioxide (SO2) fell a modest 2%.

The falls can be largely attributed to  a recession-induced reduction in energy demand. There was an 11.3% cut in carbon dioxide emissions from energy supply last year (ENDS Report 423, p 16).

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