Skip to main content

The Medium Combustion Plant Directive

Regulating fuel combustion emissions in plants with a rated thermal input of 1-50 megawatts


The EU is home to approximately 143 000 medium combustion plants (MCPs). They are used for electricity generation, domestic or residential heating and cooling, and for providing heat or steam for industrial processes. As these plants are a significant source of emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOX) and dust, the EU has introduced specific legislation with the aim of protecting the environment as well as the health of its citizens.


The Directive aims to

  • limit emissions of certain pollutants into the air from the operation of MCPs
  • address the potential need for Member States to apply stricter emission limit values in areas where this can improve local air quality in a cost-effective way
  • provide information to Member States on the lowest emissions achievable with the most advanced techniques. The necessary technical information is provided by an information exchange between stakeholders.


Medium Combustion Plant Directive (MCPD)

The Directive was proposed in 2013. It fills the regulatory gap at EU level between large combustion plants (> 50 MWth), covered by the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) and smaller appliances (heaters and boilers <1 MWth) covered by the Ecodesign Directive.

The MCPD also implements obligations arising from the Gothenburg Protocol under the UNECE Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution.


Member States are required to report to the Commission in 2021, 2026 and 2031 on various aspects of emissions from MCPs. The Commission shall regularly report on the implementation of the MCPD. It will address further issues, such as energy efficiency and carbon monoxide emissions, as required by its review clauses.


See reports from studies related to the MCPD.


For questions about EU environmental policy, please contact Europe Direct.