by Petra Caruana Dingli

A recent study has found that the extension to the Delimara power station is not causing legal limits for air quality in Marsaxlokk and Birzebbugia to be exceeded. When asked for his views about this, the Prime Minister reminded the press that the previous government “had raised the emission thresholds“.

Is there a bit of a mix-up here?

The recent study focused on ambient air, that is, the quality of air in the surrounding area. Limit values for ambient air quality are regulated by the EU, and the results of the study indicate that the power station extension is not contributing to any exceedances of ambient air quality limits in Marsaxlokk and Birzebbugia. That is good news.

Joseph Muscat may be referring to the fact that certain emission thresholds were raised 5 or 6 years ago – if so, as far as I know this related to specific pollutants emitted by large combustion plants such as power stations, and not ambient air quality limit values.

Raising emission thresholds could obviously not help to achieve better ambient air quality results, if this is what was implied. Logically, the effect of more pollutants might instead cause ambient air quality to deteriorate.

Perhaps this will be clarified at the next round of press questions.