Government accused of mixed messages on carbon capture

7 January 2016
By Jack Loughran
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Despite remarks by David Cameron, Amber Rudd has said CCS has an 'important future'

Despite remarks by David Cameron, Amber Rudd has said CCS has an 'important future'

The Scottish National Party (SNP) has accused the government of contradicting itself over the potential for carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology to lower emissions.

In November, £1bn in funding for further development of projects using the technology in the UK was scrapped following the Autumn Statement.

Last month, Prime Minister David Cameron said decisions had to be made about ‘technology that works and technology that isn't working’ when he insisted the right choice was made to end CCS support.

However, Energy Secretary Amber Rudd recently told MPs that CCS has an ‘important future’ and it was a ‘difficult’ decision to scrap the £1bn fund.

Following earlier criticism over the move, the SNP renewed its attack on the government's scrapping of the scheme after Rudd's remarks, with energy and climate change spokesman Callum McCaig telling the Commons: "The Prime Minister said it wasn't working but the secretary of state says it will work, so one of them is clearly wrong."

McCaig, who is the MP for Aberdeen South, also questioned why £250m was being used to support small-scale nuclear reactors.

Rudd replied: "I would say that we don't rule out carbon capture and storage in the future.

"This government has made substantial investment through our entrepreneur fund in early start carbon capture and storage, we have industrialised carbon capture and storage projects working, operating and testing in Teesside.

"The fact is the decision was made not to have a £1bn investment, it was a difficult decision made in a difficult spending round, but we recognise that carbon capture and storage will still have an important future in a low-carbon economy."

Meanwhile, Conservative frontbencher Andrea Leadsom has defended proposals to boost fracking in the UK.

Fracking should not be continually viewed as ‘some kind of disaster’, she said, and it would boost the country’s energy security for decades.

"I think it's quite extraordinary that honourable members opposite continually talk about the potential for shale gas as if it's some kind of disaster," she said.

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