My officials have had a number of discussions with officials from the Health and Safety Executive about the arrangements that will be put in place effectively to regulate the health and safety of carbon capture and storage. As with any other technology it is important that the hazards associated with CCS are subject to an appropriate level of control. The HSE is taking part in discussions with the European Commission about including CO2 in the CCS process in the Seveso Directive, and the EC is now considering whether to make a formal proposal for its inclusion in the directive. Subject to this outcome, HSE will consider whether or not to include carbon dioxide within its onshore and offshore control of major hazard regulations. HSE is also about to consult on the pipelines safety regulations which would extend additional major accident hazard pipeline duties to carbon dioxide.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures they will introduce to ensure that carbon capture technology companies make adequate provision for safe storage and sealing of carbon, decommissioning of plants and minimising the costs of altering plants for other uses. [HL394]
The European directive on the geological storage of carbon dioxide (2009/31/EC) requires that operators of carbon dioxide storage sites shall ensure that the carbon dioxide will be permanently contained so as to prevent or eliminate as far as possible any risk to the environment or human health; and that the site will be sealed and the injection facilities removed after the cessation of operations. The Government's approach to such measures was set out in the response to the towards carbon capture and storage consultation (April 2009 URN 09D1532), and further consultation is currently underway to set out these requirements in greater detail. This closes on 30 December. The Energy Act 2008 ensures that the decommissioning regime of Part 4 of the Petroleum Act 1998 also applies to carbon dioxide storage installations; this regime will allow deferral of decommissioning of offshore facilities for future use for carbon dioxide storage where justified.