The European Commission is to review the permits of around 3,500 power stations and district heating plants to make sure they can meet stricter emissions regulations.

The measures affect sites that produce more than 50MW of power, regardless of the fuel they use.

The commission said power stations and thermal plants account for about one-third of all industrial emissions and are the biggest sectoral emitters in the European Union (EU).

It said more cost-effective and technically feasible reductions of emissions are required.

Four-year process

The commission said: “The adoption of an implementing act by the commission brings into effect ‘Best Available Technique’ conclusions for large combustion plants.

“These are techniques that are environmentally performing, economically viable and technically proven and developed through a transparent and thorough process over several years with EU member states, industry and environmental non-governmental organisations.

“For all affected installations, the commission proposes that a review of their permits must happen within four years, so that by mid-2021 stricter EU-wide standards for all large combustion plants will be met.”

> See the EU's statement