25 June 2009 15:56 [Source: ICIS news]BRUSSELS (ICIS news)--EU environment ministers meeting in Luxembourg reached political agreement on Wednesday on legislation aimed at reducing industrial emissions and agreed to extend the phase-in period for the directive.
Environment ministers backed the majority of the European Commission’s proposals for a new Industrial Emissions Directive, but coal-reliant countries including the UK managed to persuade their colleagues that the phase-in period should be extended until 2016-2020 from 2016.
The UK, supported by other countries such as Poland that are still heavily reliant on coal-fired energy and therefore concerned about how the policy would affect large combustible plants, won their case for a longer phase-in period.
Plants would also be able to apply for a derogation from the legislation if they believed the costs involved in complying with the new rules would outweigh the potential health and environmental benefits.
While the UK said it was “happy” with the flexibilities won, France, Germany, Denmark, Ireland and Austria were believed to be disappointed with the extension of the adoption period.
Environmentalists, meanwhile, reaffirmed their determination to fight for the inclusion of carbon dioxide in the bill by the Parliament.
The legislation can now be sent for a second reading in the European Parliament after the summer break.
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