Conservatives welcome compromise on EU emissions rules – but concerns remain

06-May-2015 @ 19:0

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A compromise to exempt gas turbines and gas engines used on offshore platforms from new EU emissions rules has been backed by Conservative MEPs.

In a vote in the Environment Committee in Brussels on the so-called Medium Combustion Plants Directive (MCPD), a majority of MEPs voted to ensure that offshore oil and gas rigs do not now have to install expensive new equipment.

The proposed law is designed to limit the emissions of certain pollutants from medium sized combustion plants such as gas turbines and gas and diesel engines, however for some sectors and operators the costs may be disproportionate.

Conservative MEPs remain concerned, however, as small back-up generators would be forced to comply with the directive.

This could have a detrimental impact on remote communities, such as Scottish islands, where small generators provide additional power during peak periods and maintain power for emergency systems.

Astonishingly, despite the potential impact on Scotland, the SNP's own group failed to back the exemption for offshore platforms, or support an exemption for back-up generators.

Conservative Environment Spokesman Julie Girling said: "I'm pleased that common-sense prevailed over offshore platforms.

"It seemed as if the Commission decided to include offshore platforms in the directive as an afterthought - an ill-conceived move which could have cost the vital oil and gas industry thousands and led to massive job losses, while providing only minimal air quality benefits.

"However I'm disappointed that MEPs have not supported our call to exempt back-up generators from the directive.

"Whilst these facilities may only operate infrequently they can be a lifeline for some of the country's most remote communities".

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