Public enquiry needed into coal fired power, says aid agency

By agency reporter
September 23, 2008

British government Business Secretary John Hutton’s ringing endorsement of coal as a source of energy at the Labour conference makes a public enquiry into plans to build a new coal fired power station at Kingsnorth essential, says UK-based international development agency Christian Aid.

The secretary of state’s claim that coal is a ‘critical source of energy security for the UK,’ was widely seen as signalling that he intends to give the controversial Kingsnorth station the go-ahead.

Christian Aid says a new coal fired power station at the site in north Kent will emit in excess of seven million tonnes of CO2 a year - more than the annual emissions of 30 developing countries combined.

‘If Kingsnorth is given the go-ahead, it will trigger a new generation of such power plants in the UK,’ said Christian Aid’s senior climate change adviser Eliot Whittington. ‘Vulnerable communities far beyond Britain’s shores are already coping with the impact of global warming. The UK should be taking a lead in tackling the problem, not making matters worse.

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

‘There is strong evidence that with proper investment, renewables such as wind and solar power will help fulfil the UK’s energy needs at least until 2020. A public enquiry to examine such findings in detail is essential.’

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