The Chair of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has called on the UK Government to come up with a new plan for the carbon capture and storage (CCS) industry before the end of the year.

Lord Deben – who, as John Gummer, served as Environment Secretary in John Major’s government – told the House of Commons’ Environmental Audit Committee that the CCS industry had been stuck in “abeyance” since ministers axed the £1 billion CCS competition.

Deben said: “It must be in that government statement by the end of the year.

“Because if it is not in the government statement then we will in fact have made a decision about the way in which this was developed that is wholly contrary to the cost-effective way of delivering what the government agrees has to be delivered.”

‘Can’t turn it on at the flick of switch’

His comments were echoed by Matthew Bell, Chief Executive of the CCC, who told the committee: “We need to start quickly on CCS in order to do the pilots, put the infrastructure in place – because you can’t turn it on at the flick of a switch when you need it at very large scale in the 2030s and 2040s.

“Government so far has not articulated a view about whether it needs to do something quickly or whether it can wait a decade or two and then do it.

“The latest analysis suggests that if you wait a decade you very much increase the costs of doing it.”

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