The Court has held that, by not defining the policies or strategies for progressively adapting in line with the best available technology the steam turbine units and the gas turbine units of the power station operated by the Dimosia Epicheirisi Ilektrismou (public electricity undertaking) situated in Linoperamata on the Island of Crete, Greece has failed to fulfil its obligations under Article 13 of Council Directive 84/360/EEC of on the combating of air pollution from industrial plants.

Article 13 of the Directive requires Member States to implement, in the light of technological developments and the environmental situation, policies and strategies, including appropriate measures, for the gradual adaptation of plants such as the power station to the best available technology, taking into account various criteria, including in particular the nature and volume of polluting emissions from the plants and the costs incurred as a result of their adaptation to that technology.

However, the power station was operated on the basis of out-of-date technology, causing considerable pollution and could not therefore be described as the ‘best available technology’ for the purposes of Directive 84/360.

While Greece argued that it had adopted various measures in order to comply with the obligation under Article 13 of Directive 84/360, the reduction in the maximum sulphur content of fuel oil and gas oil used by the station may in principle have been regarded as a measure for adapting industrial plant to the best available technology since it was capable of bringing about an appreciable lowering in the level of atmospheric pollution originating from such plant.

However, the sulphur content of the fuel oil used by the power station was 2.6%, which was appreciably greater than that of the fuel oil with the lowest sulphur content available on the market, which was 0.4%.

The full text of the judgement in Case C-364/03 can be found here.

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