UK coal power station shelved

Posted: 8 October 2009

Controversial plans to build a new coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth in Kent have been put on hold for up to three years.

Energy firm E.On has said the plant will be delayed until about 2016 because electricity demand has fallen during the global recession, and the decision to go ahead will not be taken for two to three years.

The site has been a high-profile target for environmental protests by groups that argue a new plant would increase carbon emissions and climate change.

Kingsnorth coal-fired power station
Kingsnorth coal-fired power station
Kingsnorth would be the UK's first new coal-fired power station for 30 years. Photo credit: BBC
The Camp for Climate Action targeted the Kingsnorth site in August 2008. Activist Dennis Stevens said: "This is an amazing victory which shows how ordinary people can take back the power from corporations and government which do not value people and the environment."

Greenpeace campaigner Ben Stewart, one of the so-called Kingsnorth Six who climbed the existing power station in a protest against carbon emissions two years ago, described it as "a really big setback" for E.On and "really good news for the environment".

"As time goes on people get more concerned about climate change, there's more time for renewables to get built and that squeezes out coal," he said. "[It is now] becoming increasingly unlikely that this power station is going to be built."

Friends of the Earth's Executive Director Andy Atkins said: "We're delighted that E.ON has shelved its Kingsnorth plans - we should be investing in clean energy sources not building new dirty coal-fired power stations.

"Plans to build this power plant have seriously undermined the UK's credibility on climate change ahead of crucial talks in Copenhagen. The Government must now show real leadership and say no to all new coal plants which aren't fitted with 100% carbon capture and storage from day one."

E.On wants to replace the current Kingsnorth plant, due to shut in 2015, with two units it says would be 20% cleaner. The group says it remains committed to the development of cleaner coal and carbon capture and storage.