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Coal power plants make UK dirty man of Europe

By Emily Beament

Published 22/07/2014

The UK has ranked joint first for the most polluting coal-fired power stations in Europe, a report has revealed
The UK has ranked joint first for the most polluting coal-fired power stations in Europe, a report has revealed

The UK has ranked joint first for the most polluting coal-fired power stations in Europe, a report has revealed.

The "Europe's Dirty 30" report by environmental and health campaigners puts the UK top alongside Germany with nine of the 30 dirtiest coal plants in the European Union, ranked according to total carbon emissions in 2013.

The nine power stations in the UK produced just under a third of the country's UK electricity supply last year, but were responsible for nearly two-thirds of the carbon emissions produced by the power sector, the report said.

They were mainly built in the 1960s and 1970s and have a low efficiency for generating electricity.

Alongside carbon dioxide, the plants in the UK also produce nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, particulates and mercury – pollutants that affect human health and the environment.

Air pollution caused by coal power stations in the UK is responsible for an estimated 1,600 deaths a year in the country, according to the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), one of the groups behind the report.

The most polluting power station in Europe is Poland's Belchatow plant, while the UK's largest coal plant, Drax, came sixth in the list of the 30 most polluting plants.

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