UK is facing the charges as it failed to bring down nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions at the Aberthaw coal-fired power station in Wales, which was found beyond permissible limits.

According to the EU legislation directed at large combustion plants, member states were expected to reduce pollutant emissions by 1 January 2008.

The Aberthaw facility operates under a permit for 1200 mg/Nm3, which is considerably higher than the EU specified limit of 500 mg/Nm3.

Prior to taking UK to court over the issue, the Commission had sent formal notice in June 2013 and arranged for a reasoned opinion in October last year.

UK, however, has been trying to upgrade the facility to reduce the emissions in compliance with the EU guidelines. Though European Commission takes a positive note about the country’s initiative, it has decided to refer the issue to the Court since the plant will continue operating at a permit which allows high levels of toxic NOx.

Germany will be facing the court for failing to adhere to the specified Habitats Directive for authorisation of a coal power project in Hamburg/Moorburg.

The facility has been affecting protected fish species including salmon, European river lamprey and sea lamprey, whose migrating routes from the North Sea to around 30 Natura 2000 sites on the Elbe, upstream Hamburg pass by the power plant.

Water abstraction process for cooling the coal power plant is the cause behind the potential threat to natural habitat.

Germany was expected to assess and find out alternate cooling processes for the plant, which was not done.

The Commission had arranged for a reasoned opinion regarding the issue in November last year.

Germany is being taken to the court, since it has repeatedly declined to conduct the assessment and look for other cooling options.