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Biomass and Air Quality

News | Published on 7th September 2012

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The Scottish Government has recently stated its position on the relationship between biomass combustion and the potential conflict with local air quality (see letter from The Scottish Government). Biomass combustion as a means to generate renewable heat is an important technological facet of our climate change obligations to 2020 but its widespread application does have implications for air quality if not managed appropriately.

In particular, the Scottish Government would prefer off gas grid installations, larger scale facilities in preference to many small boilers (e.g. combined heat and power and perhaps aligned with existing heat networks), and installations which replace old coal or oil technology. In areas of potentially poor air quality we would envisage small boilers being less common as their emissions are less easy to control compared with a larger facility serving wider heat demand.

Further information on assessing the potential air impact of biomass is available at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Environment/waste-and-pollution/Pollution-1/16215/6116

Environmental Protection UK has produced additional guidance for Scottish local authorities which can be found at: http://www.environmental-protection.org.uk

Further information relating to the Renewable Heat Incentive can be found at: http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/meeting_energy/Renewable_ener/incentive/incentive.aspx