§ Ms Ruddock
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what powers are available to Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution to require electricity generating plant fitted with flue gas desulphurisation to be operated in preference to more polluting plant;
(2) what assumptions are now made by his Department about (a) the total electricity generating capacity fitted with flue gas desulphurisation, (b) the average load factor of plant fitted with FGD and (c) which plant will be so fitted;67W
(3) what assumptions were made by his Department about (a) the total electricity generating capacity fitted with flue gas desulphurisation and (b) the average load factor of plant fitted with FGD, in calculating the United Kingdom's ability to meet the terms of (i) the EC large combustion plants directive during negotiations on the directive and (ii) the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe sulphur protocol during negotiations on the protocol.
§ Mr. Atkins
The United Kingdom's programme and national plan for the implementation of the EC large combustion plants directive, published in 1990, assumed the fitting of FGD to 8GW of generating capacity. At present, 4 GW of FGD are operating or under construction at Drax power station and 2 GW at Ratcliffe. The 1993 emissions inventory under the LCPD showed that National Power and PowerGen together emitted less than 80 per cent. of their national plan allocation of sulphur dioxide emissions for that year.
In negotiating and assessing the feasibility of the agreed reduction target of 80 per cent. by 2010, against 1980 figures, under the UNECE sulphur protocol, the Government took account of a variety of possible abatement options, including the fitting of FGD. The Government will be consulting in due course on the national strategy required to give effect to the sulphur protocol. That strategy will reflect assessment at the time of the most cost-effective measures to deliver our environmental targets, and will take into account such developments as the industry's significant investment in cleaner combined cycle gas turbines to replace older plant.
Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution is currently in discussion with the generators both about the operation of their FGD-equipped plant in the context of each company's overall generating operations and more generally about improvement programmes for all of the companies' stations. Decisions on those questions will be taken in the light of an assessment of what constitutes BATNEEC—"best available techniques not entailing excessive costs".