A new European Union directive could force the UK to close up to 14 power plants, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

Recent amendments to the draft EU Industrial Emissions Directive would require power plants to undergo costly upgrades to comply with air pollution targets or close by 2016.

The CBI looks to gain time up to 2021 for power plants to prepare for the proposed changes to ensure a smooth transition to renewable power capacity.

CBI deputy-director general John Cridland said the old plants are due to close in 2020.

The industry lobby group also said that the directive will reduce the UK’s flexibility to decide the best way to meet the air pollution targets in a cost-effective manner.