UK news DAERA breaks silence on why Kilroot power station was allowed to exceed emissions limits last news
PremierLeague-News.Com - Edwin Poots’ Stormont department has said the order allowing Kilroot power station to exceed its emissions limits was taken with the support of the DUP minister’s civil servants, rather than against their advice.
PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! "Edwin Poots’ Stormont department has said the order allowing Kilroot power station to exceed its emissions limits was taken with the support of the DUP minister’s civil servants, rather than against their advice. After a week of refusing to answer questions about the issue, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) said the unpublicised decision in March was based on advice from the Department for the Economy that there was “a significant and imminent risk to the security of NI’s electricity supply”.The Belfast Telegraph asked questions of Mr Poots’ department on June 9, and also asked questions of Kilroot, the System Operator for Northern Ireland, the Department for the Economy, the Utility Regulator and the Northern Ireland Office.Every one of those bodies responded to the questions — except Mr Poots’ department.Two days later the Belfast Telegraph reported Mr Poots had issued a ministerial direction in March which allowed Kilroot to effectively break the law by breaching its emissions limits in an attempt to prevent the lights going out.Kilroot is Northern Ireland’s last coal-fired power plant and its coal units are due to be decommissioned next autumn, with new gas units being installed over coming months.The plant has been buying much of its coal from Russia, something which has been impacted by the invasion of Ukraine and is now subject to EU sanctions.Our questions to DAERA remained unanswered for a week, but then the department suddenly responded to dispute what we had reported five days earlier.The department said what had been issued to Kilroot was a departmental direction rather than a ministerial direction.That means the decision not to enforce the environmental controls on Kilroot’s emissions was supported by civil servants, rather than being ordered by the minister against their advice.It also said what it had done was in line with powers in the Pollution Prevention and Control (Industrial Emissions) Regulations (NI) 2013, and so it was not allowing Kilroot to break the law, but taking action which ensured what otherwise would have been law-breaking by Kilroot was permissible. In a letter in the Belfast Telegraph today, the department said: “The minister did agree to officials issuing the departmental direction, but no ministerial direction was made nor required as the department was acting entirely within the specified legal framework.“Such a move was necessary due to the war in Ukraine and the UK Government’s forthcoming ban on the use of Russian coal.
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.”However, when further questions were asked of DAERA, it did not answer them.The department disputed the action taken over Kilroot was “highly unusual” — but the only other example it cited of such an exemption to emission limits being granted was during the unprecedented Covid crisis.When asked how many times in the last decade such exemptions had been granted, the department did not reply.The department also declined to say why it had not responded to our initial questions for seven days, or why it had waited until five days after the publication of the article to complain it was inaccurate.The department denied the Brexit protocol was a relevant factor, saying “the specific standards within the Industrial Emissions Directive are therefore not affected by the protocol”.However, officials from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), which is under DAERA’s control, have said in writing the protocol is the reason why it cannot go further than its current actions and change the law, as Kilroot says is necessary to give it legal certainty.As a result Kilroot has restricted its running hours, fearful of a legal challenge from a private individual or environmental group, and that could lead to blackouts this winter if other power plants go down.When asked to explain the apparent discrepancy between what it is now saying and what the NIEA had said, there was no response.We asked why Mr Poots has not published the direction allowing emissions to be exceeded and why it had not been publicised by a press office that constantly churns out PR photos of him. There was no response.We also asked if Mr Poots would agree to an interview. Again, there was no response."
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