15 Apr 2021

Medium Combustion Plant and Specified Generators

The Environmental Permitting Regulations (England and Wales) were amended in 2018 to implement the requirements of the ‘Medium Combustion Plant’ (MCP) Directive and additional controls on ‘Specified Generators’. Similar legislation has been introduced in Scotland and Northern Ireland also.

The purpose of the regulations is to reduce emissions to air and its consequences for health and biodiversity.

The legislation largely affects feed production but may include other sectors with on-site heat and energy requirements. Grain drying, where combustion gases are used for drying, will be exempt.

In short, the amendments require operators to obtain and comply with the conditions of an environmental permit if they operate an MCP or Specified Generator, with a small number of exemptions. For example, combustion plant in which the gaseous products of combustion are used for direct heating, drying or other treatment of materials are out of scope.

The requirement to obtain a permit for a Specified Generator does not apply in Scotland. 

‘Medium Combustion Plant’ (MCPs) are defined as combustion plant with a thermal input rating between 1MWth and 50MWth.

‘Specified Generators’ are those MCPs that generate electricity for >50hrs per annum (incl. testing) or export electricity to the grid. 

Further guidance and support is available from the following links for facilities in EnglandWalesScotland and Northern Ireland.

What do I need to do if I plan to install a Medium Combustion Plan or operate a Specified Generator?



Obtain and maintain compliance with an environmental permit 

You will need to make an application to obtain the permit. 

The type of permit required will differ depending on the complexity of the site, with low risk plants benefiting from a simpler application process. Higher risk sites will be required to undertake detailed dispersion modelling. 

There will be charge for the application.  

If the MCP is associated with a Part A (1) regulated facility, this will involve a variation to your existing environmental permit. 

If the MCP is associated with a Part B regulated facility, a separate permit will need to be obtained.

Emission limits 

The permit is likely to contain limits on the concentration of pollutants emitted to air that must be complied with. 

Monitor emissions 

You are likely to be required to monitor emissions from the plant at regular frequencies. 

Record information regarding operation of the plant and any secondary abatement 

You will be required to record information on the operation of plant and submit it electronically to the regulator on an annual basis. 

Regulator inspections 

The regulator will visit sites on a to check compliance with the conditions of the environmental permit.


Please use the relevant help and support offered by the enforcement authorities who will be supportive, during the bedding down period, in helping companies understand the requirements. 

If you find you are not able to follow the process or aspects are unclear, please do not hesitate to ask for training or further assistance, which AIC could arrange by webinar or a helpline.