Commission formally rejects UK request for increased emissions levels

The European Commission has formally rejected the request from the UK to increase the number of emissions allowances to be granted to UK companies in the country's national allocation plan.

The UK made the request for extra allowances last October (see related story) despite the Commission having initially approved a far lower level in July.

The Commission said the new amount was unacceptable to the UK authorities at the time of the request and the UK Government was forced to back down and reissue the allocations based on the amounts agreed in July’s NAP (see related story).

Despite this original allocation, the UK has announced it will challenge the Commission decision before the European Court of Justice.

Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said: “Our decision should come as no surprise since we told the UK authorities that its request was not acceptable. On the other hand I warmly welcome that the UK has nonetheless chosen to issue the originally planned number of allowances, which we had approved. This will allow UK companies to start participating fully in emissions trading.”

The Commissioner pointed out that Member States are not allowed to notify new amendments outside the scope provided by the respective Commission decision. Once the decision has been taken, the total, non-fluctuating quantity of allowances approved is of crucial importance for the good functioning of the trading market.

Meanwhile, the Czech Republic’s NAP was unconditionally accepted this week, following a recent amendment to lower the amount of allowances allocated.

The Czech allocation plan covers 436 installations and all of them qualify for trading. They will now be allocated 292.8 million allowances as opposed to the original figure of 323.64 million.

By David Hopkins

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