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Heat Networks need to address the recent Medium Combustion Plant Directive (MCPD) Regulations early to avoid having to make major changes including specification of key equipment. Any site operating combustion plant with capacity of at least 1MW will be affected. Strict emissions limits have been set for oxides of nitrogen, oxides of sulphur and dust. The requirement to comply could have a significant impact on capital and operational costs including installing abatement equipment to limit emissions, maintaining management systems to control emissions and paying annual subsistence charges.

The MCPD permit application must be approved by the EA before the site can operate. The EA employ a rigorous process to assess the environmental impacts of emissions from the site. For more complex systems (eg: where CHP is included or where the site is located within an Air Quality Management Area) fees are higher and applications are more complicated and time consuming. It is the responsibility of the operator, who is also the developer in most cases, to apply for the correct permit for the site.  Permit conditions set by the EA must be monitored to ensure compliance.