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Lords back CCS schemes at power stations

Legislation to support construction of up to four carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects at coal fired power stations has won cross-party support in the House of Lords.

The Energy Bill, which has already cleared the Commons, will also help reduce energy bills for vulnerable customers. But Tory and Liberal Democrat peers warned the Bill did not go far enough.

The Bill was due to gain an unopposed second reading and is expected to be fast tracked through its later stages to become law before the general election.

House of Lords Conservative member Baroness Wilcox said: “As far as the Bill goes, we welcome it. Most of what is in the Bill is long overdue and I do not think would have caused us too much trouble even if we were to have sufficient time to discuss it in detail in committee.”

She said vulnerable consumers still did not know how Labour would ensure they could afford to heat their homes. “This Bill gives no certainty to anyone,” said Wilcox.

“What’s in the Bill is long overdue, but so little will be achieved through it that it is obvious that it will be to the new Government that we must look to do the rest.”

Liberal Democrat Lord Wallace of Saltaire said: “This is a modest Bill and we are grateful for small mercies. But we don’t see it as up to the scale of the challenge that we face.”

Lord Wallace renewed cross-party calls, narrowly defeated in the Commons, for an “emission performance standard” for all new power stations. He said: “We give a lukewarm welcome for the modest step forward contained in this Bill.”

Energy minister Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, opening the debate, said the Bill would encourage investment in “clean coal” technology; help with energy bills for the most vulnerable; and deliver a “robust framework” for consumer protection.

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