The European Commission says it will work closely with the British and German governments to avoid the scenario of substantial fines being imposed for breaches of the law within both nations’ coal power sectors.

The Commission had threatened fines over issues affecting a coal-fired power plant, run by Vattenfall, in Hamburg and Aberthaw coal-fired power plant in Wales.
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Iris Petsa, Press Officer for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries at the Commission told Power Engineering International, “We are looking to work closely with both the UK and German authorities in order to ensure that the EU environmental law is in place without having to reach the point of imposing fines.”

The German government has been referred to the European Court of Justice for the failure of the Moorburg plant to develop alternative cooling processes in order to protect wildlife.

Meanwhile the Welsh plant has been pinpointed as exceeding the limits of the toxic pollutant nitrogen dioxide (NOx).

Petsa told PEi, “Normally it would take about 18 – 24 months before the case is on trial. The Court will decide on whether the Member State has breached EU law. At that point the Member State is responsible to adapt its practices and to resolve initial dispute as soon as possible. If that does not happen, then the Commission sends another letter of formal notice and if the reply is still unsatisfactory only then does the Commission return the matter to Court and proposes lump sum and/or penalty payment.”

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