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Current issues

Industrial emissions

In addition to carbon dioxide, dust, oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2), are the principal emissions from cement manufacturing.

The Environment Agency in England, Natural Resources Wales, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and the Industrial Pollution and Radiochemical Inspectorate in Northern Ireland control the industry’s manufacturing operations under the Pollution Prevention and Control regulations meaning the industry complies with all European environmental legislation.

Dust emissions have fallen significantly since 1998, from 0.33 to 0.07 kilogrammes per tonne of Portland cement (Pce) in 2012. Levels of NOx and SO2 have also reduced radically over the same period: NOx emissions have decreased from 3.34 to 1.39 kg/tonne PCe while SO2 emissions have reduced from 2.56 to 0.51 kg/tonne PCe.These reductions have been achieved through investment in modern plant, improved process controls and installation of specialist containment and capture systems such as kiln exhaust gas scrubbers that virtually eliminate sulfur dioxide emissions.

Pce: Portland Cement equivalent – a normalising factor enabling a comparison of impacts between sites, including environmental, while also considering different production methods.

More information on industrial emissions can be found in the annual MPA Cement sustainability reports available here.

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