EEA refused to grant derogation to “Toplofikacia Sofia” EAD29 Jul, 2021 | 13:56
The Executive Environment Agency (EEA) at the Ministry of Environment and Water refused to grant the requested derogation by “Toplofikacia Sofia” EAD. The EEA decision was taken on July 22nd and applies to the four branches - TPP “Sofia – East”, TPP “Sofia”, heating plants “Lyulin” and “Zemlyane”. The decision is related to the procedure for review and update of the complex permit of the operator, issued under the Environmental Protection Act (EPA).
The derogation requested by “Toplofikacia Sofia” is for a deferral period for compliance with the norms for permissible emissions of nitrogen oxides. The new standards are in accordance with the decision by the European Commission №2017/1442/EU from 2017, which is being implemented and is in force within Bulgarian legislation. From 2018 EU member states, including Bulgaria, have started to review all issued complex permits in connection with bringing the activities of the existing large combustion plants in line with the new norms.
The Agency points to several main reasons for their decision. One of them is a violation of the Ordinance on permissible emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and dust released into the atmosphere by large combustion plants. Emissions of nitrogen oxides are twice the norm. The investment measures provided by the operator in the so-called Transitional national plan have not yet been completed and some have not even begun.
The motifs for the decision recall that in 2017 Bulgaria was convicted by the Court of Justice of the European Union for non-compliance with the norms for fine particulate matter (PM10), which also applies to the territory of Sofia Municipality. According to the data for 2020, the exceedances for PM10 continue to occur. Nitrogen oxides are one of the secondary pollutants that contribute to the increased levels of fine particles and worsen atmospheric air quality in Sofia.
In connection with the decision by the executive agency by law the MOEW is to exercise control through RIEW-Sofia – the RIEW monitors the operator for the observance of the conditions in the complex permit, including for taking measures to bring its activities in line with the norms.
At the beginning of his term, the Minister of Environment and Water Asen Lichev made a commitment to follow the case with the derogation for “Toplofikacia Sofia”.