The Environment Agency has been asked to temporarily relax permitting conditions for coal-fired power stations in England this winter.
It will cover the period from 1st October 2022 to 31st March 2023 to address energy security issues if they arise, “whilst aiming to limit unnecessary pollution”.
The Environment Agency has been directed to refrain from taking enforcement action against a permit holder without first seeking approval from Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary George Eustice during the winter period.
Operators must have complied with air quality requirements, including not breached limits for pollutants, modelled air quality impacts on the limit values of it operating and reported the results of the modelling to the Environment Agency prior to 1st October 2022 and ensure those limits will not be breached during the period of operation.
In addition, they must demonstrate to the Environment Agency that “all reasonably practicable measures” have been taken to optimise combustion and minimise emissions during each period of operation.
The direction comes as countries across Europe are making contingency plans for the winter following Russia reducing gas flows and threatening to further cut supply.
Last week, National Grid also said there could be periods when electricity supply is tight this winter, however, it added it expects to be able to meet demand.