Funding cut deals blow to Yorkshire’s clean coal hopes

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A £1 billion funding pot which could have helped Yorkshire become a world leader in a pioneering technology was scrapped by the Government is its spending plans were unveiled today.

The company behind the White Rose Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) project in Yorkshire - one of two in the country hoping to secure the cash - said it was now unlikely to have a future.

Euro MP Linda McAvan at Drax Power Station.

Euro MP Linda McAvan at Drax Power Station.

The White Rose Project involved the building of a new coal-fired plant close to the existing Drax power station with harmful gases captured and taken by pipeline to be stored under the North Sea.

It has long been hoped that White Rose would help kickstart a wider CCS industry in the region with a pipeline network spanning Yorkshire.

The region’s history in power generation and the presence of large scale heavy industry meant Yorkshire was considered well-placed to pioneer economically viable carbon capture technology.

A report published three years ago said backing the White Rose Project could lead to the creation of 4,000 jobs.

Leigh Hackett, chief executive of Capture Power, the company behind White Rose, said:“We are surprised and very disappointed by the Government’s decision to cancel the £1bn CCS Commercialisation Programme more than three years into the competition.

“It is too early to make any definitive decisions about the future of the White Rose CCS Project, however, it is difficult to imagine its continuation in the absence of crucial Government support.”

Yorkshire MEP Linda McAvan, who has long fought to get the region’s CCS industry up and running, said: “It is yet another sign of the government’s lack of long term commitment to tackle climate change.

“The government has announced that gas will continue to play a role in future power supply, but gas is still a major emitter of CO2, as is heavy industry and we need policies to capture emissions.”

Halifax MP Holly Lynch said: “It’s a real travesty for Yorkshire. What it also means is that 300m euros that was allocated to the White Rose project from the EU could disappear because our Government is not capable of match funding it.

“It’s a huge shame for our region and all the jobs and investment.”

Carbon Capture and Storage Association chief executive Dr Luke Warren said the announcement was “devastating”.

He added: “Only six months ago, the Government’s manifesto committed £1 billion of funding for CCS.

“Moving the goalposts just at the time when a four-year competition is about to conclude is an appalling way to do business.”