Coal giants slam plans for cleaner electricity

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Britain’s coal producers have criticised Government plans to make electricity production cleaner, saying they are too costly and may interrupt energy supplies.

Ministers have tabled a host of proposed reforms, including “decarbonising” electricity, in pursuit of a target to cut the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.

But the head of the Confederation of UK Coal Producers (CoalPro) suggests the measures aimed at the electricity sector “fail to meet the Government’s own criteria in every respect”.

David Brewer, director general of the Wakefield-based trade organisation, said: “Our future electricity supply will not be affordable because customers will have to fund windfall gains for existing gas and nuclear generators and pay high prices for electricity and imported gas.

“It will not be low-carbon because it will lead to long-term lock-in of high carbon emissions from unabated gas.

“It will not be secure because it will be excessively dependent on imported gas, especially at peak periods, and lead to a reduction in indigenous coal production.”

Coal currently provides 30 per cent of the UK’s electricity, rising to 50 per cent or more in winter.

CoalPro has put forward its own policy recommendations calling for measures including the “rapid implementation” of a carbon-capture demonstration programme. They claim its proposals would provide sustainable power supplies whilst protecting jobs and stimulating investment.