WWF slams ‘four wasted years’ as Department for Energy and Climate Change seeks a fresh pilot

The government’s failure to broker a deal to test carbon capture power plant technology at Longannet in Scotland has been branded a ‘farce’ by the WWF.

The government has confirmed today it has ditched its plan to build a carbon capture coal fired power plant at Longannet, Fife.

Richard Dixon, director of WWF Scotland, said: “If technical and economic hurdles can be overcome carbon capture has the potential to help reduce emissions at thousands of coal power stations around the world. However, almost four years after launching its funding competition, plans for carbon capture in the UK have descended into farce.”

He said that even with the £1bn investment on offer from the government to test the technology the economic case for its use had clearly not stood-up to scrutiny.

“Four years have effectively been wasted in the battle to tackle climate change,” he added.

The announcement that the plans would be shelved has been anticipated since the beginning of the month when the Guardian reported that talks with Scottish power, which was lined up to build the power plant, were on the brink of collapse.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change is now seeking a fresh pilot for carbon capture technology and is expecting a number of bids for the £1bn fund.

Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) director general Tom Foulkes said: “We’re very concerned that beginning the bidding process again for CCS projects is going to further delay the development of this vital technology. CCS could drastically reduce emissions from the fossil-fuelled power stations we will rely heavily on for many more years.”

Chris Huhne, secretary of state for energy and climate change, said: “Despite everyone working extremely hard, we’ve not been able to reach a satisfactory deal for a project at Longannet at this time, so we’ve taken the decision to pursue alternative projects.”

He added that carbon capture technology was key to the UKs long term energy strategy but that pilot funding needed to be spent in the most effective way possible.

The WWF has previously warned that other test plant plans under consideration would result in higher carbon emissions than those expected from Longannet.