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Document 32015L2193

Air pollution from medium combustion plants


Directive (EU) 2015/2193 on limiting emissions of certain pollutants into the air from medium combustion plants



It lays down rules to control air emissions of sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and dust (particles) from medium combustion plants*, as well as rules to monitor carbon monoxide (CO) emissions from these plants.

The aim is to reduce potential harm to human health and the environment.


  • EU countries must ensure that:
    • all new medium combustion plants, that is, plants put into operation after 19 December 2018, have a permit or are registered;
    • by 1 January 2024, all existing plants with a rated thermal input (or capacity) greater than 5 megawatt (MW) have a permit or are registered;
    • by 1 January 2029, all existing plants with a rated thermal input less than or equal to 5 MW have a permit or are registered.
  • Each EU country’s competent authority must hold a publicly available register with information on each plant, such as the type of fuel used and expected number of annual operating hours.
  • The legislation sets out emission limit values by fuel category, distinguishing also between new and existing plants. Some plants may be exempted from the limits.
  • The limit values apply from 20 December 2018 for new plants and by 2025 or 2030 for existing plants, depending on their size.
  • Operators of plants must:
    • monitor their emissions;
    • maintain a record, for at least 6 years, of the results of emission monitoring, of operating hours, type and quantities of fuel used and details of any malfunction or breakdown.
  • EU countries must:
    • establish effective inspections to check compliance with emission limit values;
    • by 1 January 2021, submit a report to the European Commission with an estimate of the total amount of annual emissions of CO;
    • by 1 October 2026, provide the Commission with qualitative and quantitative information on the directive's implementation. This must include estimated total annual emissions of SO2, NOx and dust (particles) from plants, according to their type, fuel used and capacity;
    • by 1 October 2031, provide the Commission with a second report on implementation.
  • The Commission will:
    • submit a summary report to the European Parliament and the Council within 12 months of receiving the national reports on implementation;
    • by 1 January 2020, review the progress in relation to energy efficiency of medium combustion plants and assess the benefits of setting minimum energy efficiency standards;
    • by 1 January 2023, assess whether aspects of the legislation should be reviewed, including the need to set more stringent emission limit values for new plants and regulate CO emissions.
  • The directive does not apply to certain combustion plants, such as
    • coke battery furnaces;
    • gas turbines and engines used offshore;
    • reactors used in the chemical industry; and
    • plants already covered by other EU legislation regulating their emissions, such as Directive 2010/75/EU on industrial emissions (integrated pollution prevention and control).
  • The directive does not apply to ancillary research, development and testing activities.


It applies from 18 December 2015. EU countries have to incorporate it into national law by 19 December 2017.


The legislation fills the regulatory gap between large combustion plants (over 50 megawatts) which are covered by the industrial emissions directive and smaller appliances, such as heaters and boilers, which come under the Ecodesign directive.

Medium combustion plants are used for a wide variety of applications (electricity generation, domestic/residential heating and cooling, providing heat/steam for industrial processes, etc.).


* Medium combustion plant: a plant which burns fuel and uses the heat generated, with a rated thermal input equal to or greater than 1 MW and less than 50 MW, irrespective of the type of fuel it uses.


Directive (EU) 2015/2193 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2015 on the limitation of emissions of certain pollutants into the air from medium combustion plants (OJ L 313, 28.11.2015, pp. 1–19)


Directive 2010/75/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 November 2010 on industrial emissions (integrated pollution prevention and control) (OJ L 334, 17.12.2010, pp. 17–119)

Successive amendments to Directive 2010/75/EU have been incorporated in the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

last update 14.03.2016