Environment Agency says carbon storage technology should be a planning requirement for all new coal power stations

The Environment Agency has warned that coal-fired power stations must not be built unless they can capture and store carbon dioxide.

The agency said that construction of new plants that did not meet this criterion, such as that proposed at Kingsnorth in Kent, could “lock” the UK into high-carbon technology.

Coal power plant
New coal plants could “lock” the UK into high-carbon technology

Lord Chris Smith, chairman of the Environment Agency, said: “Although carbon capture and storage technology has been demonstrated on a small scale, there is now an urgent need for it to be demonstrated on a commercial scale.

“Any new coal power station to be built should have a consent that requires that it helps demonstrate the technology.”

The government will make its final decision on Kingsnorth, proposed by power company E.ON, within months. Opponents fear that if the station goes ahead it could pave the way for a series of similar coal plants.