Emission limits values tightened for Welsh incinerators

The emission limit for particulate matter (PM2.5) has been reduced by 50% at all Welsh energy-from-waste sites following a review of environmental permits, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has announced.

In an exercise to assess permits against the latest Best Available Techniques (BAT) - as required by the Industrial Emissions Directive - the Welsh environmental regulator has reviewed all environmental permits for Welsh incineration sites. 

Wales has five waste incineration sites, including two municipal waste incinerators, two biomass incinerators and a clinical waste incinerator, according to NRW. 

Following  the review, the emission limit for particulate matter (PM2.5) has been reduced by 50% across all sites, a new mercury emission limit secures a 60% reduction at Wales’ two municipal waste incinerators , and at one site the limit for oxides of nitrogen has been tightened by 55%.

Through an improvement condition added to all permits, operators are now required to investigate the reduction of oxides of nitrogen beyond the BAT limit and all sites are required to implement new management plans in relation to abnormal start-up and shut-down operations.

“Overall, the new conditions ensure that the permits for this sector continue to be an efficient regulatory tool, driving ongoing future improvements”, said the regulator. 

Holly Noble, permitting team leader from NRW, said: “Our environmental permits set conditions for how a facility must operate and limit emissions to the environment – but that’s not where the process ends.

“Not only will each site be closely regulated by our officers, but they also have to stay on top of the latest technological developments and strive towards improving their environmental performance.

“In some cases, this requires companies making significant investment in their infrastructure, which we appreciate may not be easy during such uncertain times, but it’s an important exercise for us to complete, allowing us to drive improvements in the industry and bring all waste incineration sites up to a consistent level across Wales.”