New coal power plant moves closer

Energy giant E.ON UK has moved another step closer to building the UK's first coal-fired power plant in more than 20 years after local planners decided not to object to its plans.

Members of Medway Council’s development control committee voted not to raise a formal objection to a planning application for the two new cleaner coal units to replace existing coal-fired units at Kingsnorth, in Kent.

The decision sparked outrage from environmental campaigners who urged Government ministers to reject the plans or lock Britain into decades of high carbon emissions.

Robin Cooper, director of regeneration and development at Medway Council – which was consulted on the plans by the Government – said: “This is one of the largest planning applications Medway Council has ever dealt with.

“Councillors visited the site and carefully took into consideration all the issues before coming to a decision.

“It is now up to central government to decide whether to give consent for this power station.”

If approved, the £1bn units would produce enough electricity to supply about 1.5m homes.

E.ON said the proposed technology would produce power from coal far more efficiently and cleanly than ever before in the UK, reducing carbon emissions from the plant by almost 2m tonnes a year.

Project manager Adrian Smith said: “If built, these units would be the first new coal units built in the UK for over 20 years and could set a new benchmark for cleaner coal-fired generation in the UK.”

But their proposals have met with stiff opposition from environmental groups, including Greenpeace, which staged a major protest at Kingsnorth in October.

Following Medway Council’s decision, Greenpeace executive director John Sauven said: “The Government must not be taken in by the myth of clean coal technology. Coal is the dirtiest fossil fuel on the planet.”

Murray Benham, head of campaigns at the World Development Movement, said: “If the UK builds new coal-fired power plants, we will be condemning millions of people around the world to death by climate change.”

Kate Martin

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