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Sulphur Emissions

Volume 115: debated on Wednesday 29 April 1987

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his reply of 17 December 1986, Official Report, column 1192, about sulphur emissions, what will be the total cost of reducing sulphur emissions to 70 per cent. of their 1980 level; how this will be done; what other harmful chemicals are present in emissions from power stations; and what measures are being considered, and at what cost, to remove these chemicals.

The cost will depend critically on the future level of energy demand. To help ensure that we meet this goal, despite an increase in energy consumption associated with higher economic growth, we have authorised the CEGB to retrofit three power stations with flue gas desulphurisation equipment, at an estimated capital cost of £780 million. All new coal-fired power stations will be fitted with such equipment, or whatever better technology is available, to the requirements of Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution. In the meantime, the CEGB and British Coal continue to research other cleaner methods of burning coal, including the development of pressurised fluidised bed combustion.Other substances emitted to air in significant quantities from power stations include nitrogen oxides, hydrogen chloride and particulates. Particulate emissions have for many years been subject to stringent controls achieved, in the case of coal-fired plant, through the use of electrostatic precipitators. HMIP is currently consulting the industry on future standards for acid gas and particulate emissions from large burners and furnaces. The results of full-scale trials of low NOx burners now taking place at two existing power stations, Fiddlers Ferry and Eggborough, are also being evaluated by the CEGB.