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EU power plant pollution reaching high levels

Power plant pollution in the European Union is reaching increasingly high levels, according to a new report.

A report for the European Environment Agency assessed emissions of acidic pollutants nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulphur dioxide (SO2) from 450 of the continent's biggest power stations.

Large combustion plants (LCP) - including those which burn coal, gas or oil - account for almost three quarters of the total from this sector.

The report said improved technology could help cut the pollution from power stations to a fraction of its current levels.

In 2004, if electricity-generating LCP used the latest technologies to cut air pollution, NOx emissions could have been cut by nearly 60 per cent and S02 emissions by 80 per cent.

And emissions could have been slimmed 20 per cent and 61 per cent lower respectively if facilities had met the emission limits set in the LCP directive which encourages the retro-fitting of older facilities.

Power stations are responsible for around 18 per cent of emissions.

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