Powering ahead

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THERE is a pleasing symmetry to Yorkshire’s far-reaching ambition to become a world leader in the pioneering technology of carbon capture and storage, whereby harmful CO2 emissions are captured from heavy industry before being released in to the atmosphere, and are instead buried safely underground.

Few parts of the world have benefited so widely from traditional high-carbon industries as this one has over the years. Whole communities have been founded upon the mining and the burning of Yorkshire coal; whole towns and cities based their success upon the production and use of steel when manufacturing underpinned the country’s economy.

So how fitting it is that this region may now be poised to become the first to create an integrated pipeline network to “de-carbonise” these very same sectors that have been so crucial to Yorkshire for so long, and employed so many people.

It must be given every assistance in ensuring the vision becomes a reality.

For it is no exaggeration to say that both the future of many of Yorkshire’s heavy industries, and of the UK’s entire far-reaching CO2-cutting targets, rest upon its success.

Thus far, the noises from both Whitehall and Brussels appear positive, but it is vital that proposed funding mechanisms translate into real hard cash – and fast.

For if CCS proves itself to be a medium-term solution for the world’s carbon cutting agenda, it will not only be Yorkshire which looks to benefit. It will be every developed and developing nation around the world.

And much as with the offshore wind sector, if this region can put itself of the forefront of this pioneering technology, it has the potential to create a new industrial export base for many years to come.

At this pivotal time for Yorkshire, Britain and Europe’s finances, it is an opportunity that must be seized.