Energy minister says national CCS strategy is ‘unnecessary’

Energy minister Andrea Leadsom has rejected calls for the government to develop a national strategy for carbon capture and storage (CCS), describing it as “unnecessary”.

She was debating an amendment to the Energy Bill put forward by MPs from Labour and the SNP which sought to create one by June 2017.

Its follows the government’s eleventh hour decision to axe a £1 billion competition to help develop the technology in November. Last month industry experts called on the government to provide “clarity” on the future of CCS.

Speaking at a meeting of the Energy Bill Committee on Thursday, Labour’s shadow energy minister, Dr Alan Whitehead, said: “It is important to be clear that the cancellation of the projects does not mean the end of CCS in this country. We will have to bring about large-scale CCS, probably sooner than a number of people consider is likely, to stay even remotely on course to meet our climate change targets in the longer term.”

Leadsom responded that the government was “engaging widely with the CCS industry” and still held the view that CCS had “a potentially important role in the long-term decarbonisation of the UK’s power and industrial sectors”.

However, she added that the amendment was “unnecessary” as the government was “already considering how it can support the further development of CCS”.  She said Decc would release its own strategy in due course.

The amendment was rejected by the committee, with eight votes in favour and eleven against.