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A good week for clean air: tough new pollution standards mean plants must conform or close

EU countries have voted to secure tough new industrial pollution rules that could save thousands of lives each year. These standards have not been updated since 2006 and environment organisations have campaigned strongly to ensure success this time.

After the UK lobbied to weaken the ‘LCP BREF’, as it’s known, environmental lawyers ClientEarth led a group of NGOs to write to Secretary of State for the Environment Andrea Leadsom to ensure she prioritised human health over industry.

Reacting to the result today, ClientEarth CEO James Thornton said: “It’s a victory for cleaner air in the UK this week. We could not be more glad the UK has stepped up to support these stronger pollution limits, despite previously lobbying against them.

“These updated standards are late in coming but they are absolutely essential. As we enter the clean energy era, our remaining industrial plants must operate without placing human health in jeopardy. These standards go some way to achieving that.”

What do the new standards mean for the coal industry?

“Operators of non-compliant plants are now at a crossroads – will they invest to bring them up to standard? Or will they close? Either way, it’s clear that human health is the priority – exactly the result we fought for.

“Now, countries must commit to rigorous enforcement to make sure polluters don’t fly under the radar. In the UK, for example, only one of our coal power plants is prepared to meet the new standards. Will this bring the end of coal forward?”

To widespread outrage, Germany voted against the new standards.

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