The Medium Combustion Plant Directive (MCPD) is EU legislation that became UK law in December 2017. It sets emissions targets for power-generating facilities with a capacity between 1 and 50 MWth.

The legislation is intended to improve air quality and fill the gap between other directives that govern emissions from large combustion plants and small appliances. For large combustion plants over 50 MWth the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) applies, and for small appliances (including boilers and heaters under 1 MWth) the Ecodesign Directive (CE labelling) applies.

The directive regulates new or existing medium-sized equipment which oxidises a fuel source to generate heat – the process of combustion. ‘Medium-sized’ equipment is typically found in an energy network that supplies large buildings such as offices, hotels, multi-use developments and industrial processes. The thermal input guidelines of 1MW to 50MW relates to each piece of equipment independently and not the buildings’ combined thermal input.

The legislation regulates the concentration levels of Sulphur Dioxide (SO2), the oxides of Nitrogen (NOX),  the dust within exhaust gases and the emissions of Carbon Monoxide (CO). There are limits on the levels of pollutants that can be emitted depending on type, size, age, fuel type and annual operating hours.

The legislation comes into force in phases as follows:

  • New Plant Equipment – All had to be registered and comply with the emission level values by 20th December 2018. New installations will need to comply with the regulations before a the plant can become operational.
  • Existing Plant above 5MW – Must be registered and relevant permits obtained by January 2024 and comply with the emission level values by January 2025.
  • Existing Plant between 1MW and 5MW – Must be registered and relevant permits obtained by January 2029 and comply with the emission level values by January 2030.

Compliance for existing plant needs to be considered far ahead of the deadlines given that plant upgrades require significant planning and capital expenditure. For new developments it is vital that developers are aware of the requirement ahead of the building completion so relevant permits can be sought and compliance monitored.

If you would like further support or guidance please compliance team at or to discuss this further please call Melanie Kendall-Reid on 01252 87 87 22.

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