Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have voted to reprieve 14 British coal-fired power plants from closure by delaying the introduction of new European Union (EU) emissions reduction legislation.
The new draft European Industrial Emissions Directive would have forced 52,000 industrial plants across the EU to cut emissions. This includes three coal fired plants.
The UK power stations would have been forced to close by 2016, as retrofitting new equipment to limit nitrogen emissions to meet the new requirements would have proved too costly.
Members of the EU’s Environment Committee of MEPs voted by a margin of 40 to 13 to delay the introduction of the new limits for four years, keeping these 14 plants open until 2020.
This proposal must yet be approved by the European Commission, although it is thought this is unlikely to be challenged.
Committee member and German MEP Holger Krahmer, said the move was needed because individual countries lack the political will to tackle carbon emissions.
“Unfortunately many member states lack the political will to demand higher environmental production standards from industry installations,” he said.
“Large combustion plants will now certainly have more than enough time to meet the rules.”