Coal use in UK reaches six year high

Coal use in the UK reached a six year high at the beginning of the year, according to reports. Government statistics released by DECC yesterday show coal accounted for 46% […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Coal use in the UK reached a six year high at the beginning of the year, according to reports. Government statistics released by DECC yesterday show coal accounted for 46% of power production in the first quarter of 2012.

The UK’s trade body said the figures suggest the out of favour fossil fuel is still alive and kicking in Britain because it’s cheaper than gas.

David Brewer, Director General for CoalPro told ELN: “Coal is the cheapest fuel around, cheaper than gas at the moment, quite why I don’t know. Gas has been expensive for some time.”

He added the rise in the UK’s power share reflected a global trend: “If you look at the last ten years worldwide, the increase in coal use has exceeded the increase in the use of gas and oil put together.”

The news may alarm environmentalists with eyes on the UK’s carbon footprint. Coal power stations are expected to be phased out or upgraded to emit less carbon dioxide over the next decade.