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Coal-Fired Power Stations: Kingsnorth

Volume 472: debated on Tuesday 4 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (1) whether his Department has sought advice from the Department for Communities and Local Government on the application of criteria for calling in planning applications and referring such applications to a planning inspector to the application for consent for a coal fired power station at Kingsnorth, Kent; (189221)

(2) what criteria he plans to use in deciding whether to call a public inquiry before determining the application for a coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth, Kent;

(3) what response he has made to representations by Medway Council in connection with the proposed Kingsnorth power station on (a) a public inquiry, (b) combined heat and power capacity at the plant and (c) available land for future carbon capture and storage facility.

My Department is aware of the criteria used for calling in planning applications. However, the Kingsnorth application falls to be determined not under the normal planning regime, but under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989, and as such it is for the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform to decide whether to use his discretion to call for a public inquiry in view of the representations he has received.

There are no criteria laid down for calling a discretionary inquiry.

We will address all the decision on Medway council’s representations in any decision that is taken, including whether or not to hold a public inquiry.

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will ask E.ON UK to provide a technical assessment of the feasibility and likely costs of retrofitting its proposed Kingsnorth coal-fired power station with carbon capture technology and of the availability of suitable storage sites and suitable transport sites. (189223)

In deciding whether to approve E.ON’s planning application for Kingsnorth power station under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989 Ministers will be considering a range of possible conditions, including whether—and if so in what terms—there should be readiness for future carbon capture.

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (1) what assessment he has made of the impact of the effect of likely changes in sea-levels over the next 30 years on the proposed new coal power station at Kingsnorth, if built; (189313)

(2) what estimate he has made of the likely cost to the public purse of measures to manage the effect on the proposed Kingsnorth power station, if built, of likely changes in sea-levels over the next (a) 30 and (b) 40 years;

(3) what estimate he has made of the carbon cost of the expected volume of emissions from the proposed Kingsnorth power station, if built, between (a) 2012 and 2020 and (b) 2021 and 2050 based on the Government’s shadow cost of carbon.