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Air quality emissions limits for biomass boilers and CHP - error in new regulations

Regulations introducing changes to the air quality and metering requirements for the non-domestic RHI came in to force on 24 September. Information on the announcement is available on the DECC website.  Scottish Renewables, earlier this week, flagged up an issue with the regulations that will affect most new applicants to the RHI for biomass boilers of 500kWth or less.

As drafted the regulations require certain standards to be applied to all biomass boilers including CHP. Unfortunately, due to a drafting error, the regulations in point 9 below adhere to all boilers under 500kWth, rather than only in relation to those described in point 8. The relevant section of Schedule A1 is copied below:

7. In respect of plants with an installation capacity of 500 kWth or less, where BS EN 303-5: 1999 or BS EN 303-5: 2012 applies to that plant, confirmation that the test was carried out in accordance with whichever standard is current at the time of testing.

8.In respect of plants with an installation capacity of 500 kWth or less to which neither of the standards in paragraph 7 applies, and all plants with an installation capacity exceeding 500 kWth, confirmation that—

(a) the emissions of PM represent the average of at least three measurements of emissions of PM, each of at least 30 minutes duration; and

(b) that the value for NOx emissions is derived from the mean of measurements made throughout the PM emission tests.

9. Confirmation that testing was carried out in accordance with—

(a) BS EN 14792:2005 in respect of NOx; and

(b) BS EN 13284-1:2002 or BS ISO 9096:2003 in respect of PM.
Point 9 is incompatible with Point 7. It should only apply to Point 8.

DECC have stated that –“In practice it is not possible for every type of boiler to meet the standard specified in point 9 and in these instances a certificate cannot be issued even if the boiler does meet the minimum requirements for air quality set out in the policy. Although the draft regulations have been in the public domain for over six months and available for scrutiny this issue was not identified in time to be corrected before the regulations came into force. We intend to lay amended regulations before Parliament as soon as possible and subject to parliamentary process are aiming for them to come into force by the end of the year. Applications to the scheme can still be submitted to Ofgem who will process them as far as possible. However, final accreditation will not be given until the amended regulations come into force. This is very unfortunate but we will do everything we can to rectify this issue as quickly as possible.”


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