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Greenpeace have proof: Government eco-policy dictated by energy businesses

by David Masters
February 7, 2008

Greenpeace campaigners have claimed that an email obtained from the Government through the Freedom of Information Act proves that the Government’s energy policy is being dictated by energy companies.

In the email, utility giant E.ON challenges the governments condition that the company should fit carbon capture and storage (CCS) onto the new coal-fired power plant that they are building in the UK. The plant will be the first coal-fired power station to be built in the UK in 20 years.

The email, says that the British government has “no right to withhold approval for Conventional plant”, and added that “The CCS plant can not be built first (obviously due to spatial restraints and current scale of technology) and it has no current reference for viability at any scale.”

The reply from the government department concerned says: “Thanks I won’t include.”

Executive director of Greenpeace, John Sauven, commented: “These Whitehall documents reveal a pillar of the Government’s climate and energy strategy evaporating in six minutes under the pressure of a single email from a German coal company.

“A week after this email was written, ministers were telling the public we’d be generating between 30% and 40% of our electricity from renewables by 2020.”

E.ON has since remarked that it does not want to include conditions for CSS in its plans because the technology is still unproven. However, they added that they will make the plant CSS-ready.

Local planners have agreed not to make any formal objections to E.ON’s plans. The decision of whether or not to grant planning permission now rests with the government.

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