Tuesday 24th of May 2022 | Posted In: Generate, Use and Manage

Upcoming MCPD regulatory updates – New plants, have you prepared? Existing plants, are you ready?

Have you spoken to an energy manager, had an energy audit, or conducted a feasibility study regarding a new installation on your site? Or perhaps you have already decided to install a new combustion plant for generating heat and/or power onsite?

Whilst you might be excited about this business decision and keen to get started, you must bear a few things in mind. NFU Energy’s specialist compliance and permitting is here to take the headache away and help you.


  • New: Are you prepared?

All new MCP’s commissioned after 20/12/2018 require permitting to be applied for and a permit issued prior to operation. New boilers (yet to undergo first commissioning) also require a permit prior to commissioning starting, as this is also considered as operating.  

  • Existing: Are you ready?

Medium Combustion Plant (MCP) (biomass, gas, oil boilers over 1 MWth input) commissioned before the 20/12/2018 are not due for permitting under the Environment Agency (EA) until the following dates: 2024 for plants over 5 MWth input, and 2029 for plants between 1 and 5 MWth input*.

*Under the Medium Combustion Plant Directive (MCPD), all combustions plants over 5 MWth input commissioned before 18th December 2018 must be permitted by 01/01/2024. They must then be Emission Compliant by 01/01/2025. The Environment Agency are currently taking 12 months to permit plants, so applicants needing a permit by 2024 are recommended to submit before Christmas 2022.

If your plant only uses unprocessed poultry manure as fuel it is exempt. There is further information about exemptions and rules for aggregation on our dedicated MCPD blog.











If your plant is new, you must have a permit in place before you operate (first firing after commissioning is completed) or you face the possibility of landing heavy fines from the Environment Agency.

The UK ETS might also apply depending on whether your installed combustion capacity meets or exceeds 20 MW; this only includes heating systems that are 3 MW or over (any machinery less than 3MW is excluded from total).

How long do MCPD applications take?

We can help you determine what applies to your site upgrades at any stage of your installation. Be mindful that MCPD applications can take anything between three to six months to get processed by the Environment Agency (dependant on the complexity) and till you have the permit back you are not able to run your plant. With current administration delays, there is also a two month sub-queue for submitted applications to be entered into the EA permit officer allocation queue. We would recommend that all projects allow for at least one year to apply, progress and receive a permit with the Environment Agency.

If your plant is in an isolated rural area with low hours of operation and lesser environmental concern, the permit application could fall under the ‘Standard Rule’ category and be more simple and lower cost. We can help you determine if your proposed plant fits this category.

A bespoke permit could be necessary if you are in close proximity to residential areas or there are other relevant “ecological receptors” depending on the nature of the local landscape. This may require more in depth air dispersion modelling and a habitat assessment to quantify impacts on the local environment.

Since the directive came into force towards the end of 2018, NFU Energy has gained extensive experience guiding businesses through the complexity of the MCPD permitting process. We can help you with understanding the scheme, making the initial permit application, and manage its ongoing compliance.

Talk to us if you need to check if MCPD, UKETS or to see if any of the other energy operating frameworks are applicable to you. Call us on 024 7669 8919 and we will talk you through it.