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Kingsnorth plea exposes energy shambles

The announcement that energy company E.ON is seeking the postponement of any decision about Kingsnorth power station exposes the government’s ‘shambolic’ thinking over meeting Britain’s future energy needs, says international development agency Christian Aid.

The international development agency has called for a public inquiry into plans to build a new coal fired power station at Kingsnorth in north Kent because of the huge quantities of CO2 it will emit – in excess of seven million tonnes a year, more than the annual emissions of 30 developing countries combined.

Christian Aid says that if Kingsnorth is given the go-ahead, it will trigger a new generation of coal fired power plants in the UK, the emissions from which will affect vulnerable communities far beyond Britain’s shores that are already coping with the impact of global warming. It will also take the UK further away from achieving its climate change targets.

Now E.ON, the company behind the planning application, is suggesting the Kingsnorth decision is delayed pending completion of the Government’s consultation into what will be required to make a coal-fired power station carbon capture and storage ready. 

'This exposes the government's policy on coal as being utterly shambolic’, said Christian Aid climate change policy specialist Andrew Pendleton. ‘Even the company behind the Kingsnorth plans is unclear about what the Government will accept and what it won’t. It's a mess.

‘The government must sort out its policies. It is crucial that, from the Prime Minister downwards, it has a coherent strategy for how to reduce the UK’s CO2 emissions in line with the 80 per cent cut the Government now acknowledges will be necessary.

'No new coal powered stations should be built without the technology to capture and store the CO2  from the outset. Christian Aid supports developing this technology, but this should not be used as an excuse to give high-emitting power plants the green light in the meantime.

‘While is it good that even the company behind the plans is backing off, the secretary of state should call a public enquiry so that all matters pertaining to building new coal fired stations can be properly and transparently explored.’

For more press information, please contact Andrew Hogg on +44 (0) 207 523 2058

Notes to Editors:

Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in more than 50 countries. We act where the need is greatest, regardless of religion, helping people build the life they deserve.
Christian Aid supports I Count, the campaign of the Stop Climate Chaos coalition which brings together over 70 organisations, from environment, development charities to unions, faith and women's groups.
I Count backs a Climate Change Bill which commits the UK to at least 80 per cent reduction in CO2 by 2050. Lobby your local MP and make the Climate Change Bill count www.icount.org.uk.