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Work starts at controversial Kingsnorth site

Energy giant E.ON has begun field work for carbon capture technology at Kingsnorth Power Station in Hoo, despite not yet being given planning permission for the new plant.

The company is still waiting to be given the go-ahead from the government to build two new cleaner coal units, which they say will be “carbon-capture ready.”

E.ON has started work to identify potential carbon dioxide pipeline routes on the Hoo Peninsula.

The survey work aims to find the best locations for the pipelines that could eventually be used to carry emissions from the proposed cleaner coal units to North Sea gas fields for storage.

E.ON’s UK chief executive Paul Golby, said: “This is an important step in developing the options for carbon capture storage (CCS) development at Kingsnorth and, subject to us achieving a positive decision on our planning application, is another indication of E.ON’s commitment to completing the development of CCS.”

The firm is said to be disappointed with the progress of the government’s CCS competition, which will see one project being given £1 billion to test the technology. The results are not due until later this year or early next year.

Dr Golby said: “We remain committed to the government’s CCS demonstration competition which is a great start but what we desperately need now is action.

“Progress to date has been too slow and I very much hope to see signs of movement soon, which is why we’ve decided to push forward with developing options for our own project.”

The investigation will study potential pipeline routes along the Peninsula as well as offshore. Once suitable routes have been identified and developed, consultation with landowners, statutory organisations, including Medway Council and the Environment Agency, and the public will begin as part of the normal planning process.

The company is also considering the option of transporting the carbon by ship, as an alternative to a pipeline.

Ed Miliband, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, is not expected to make his decision on Kingsnorth until the autumn, following a full review the UK’s coal policy.

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