According to The Sunday Telegraph, a government spokesperson has stated that there are no longer plans to enforce a legal ban on coal starting from October 2024.
A government spokesman told the newspaper: “The government is committed to phasing out unabated coal generation by October 2024. As all UK coal generators have already committed to phasing out their coal operations, it is not necessary to legislate to deliver on this.”
Experts warn that this could pave the way for the revival of coal power plants as a precautionary measure to prevent blackouts, should alternative energy sources face limitations or fail to meet demand.
In a recent House of Lords debate, Andrew Bowie, the parliamentary under-secretary of state for nuclear and networks, emphasised the importance of maintaining all available options for energy security.
Bowie said: “The planned phase-out date of October 2024 is extant and something that we are working towards. However, it is important that we ensure that, as part of our electricity baseload, we have access to the relevant energy sources so that we ensure this country’s energy security. Given the situation with energy security in central Europe and, indeed, worldwide, that should be understood by everyone.”
A Department for Energy Security and Net Zero spokesperson told ELN: “The Energy Bill will ensure we have cleaner, cheaper and more secure energy for the future. While our reliance on coal is rapidly diminishing, there is still a need for it in industries such as steel and cement so now is not the right time to make changes.
“We will continue to listen to representations made by Members as passage of the Bill continues but oppose this amendment because a complete ban isn’t appropriate and risks meeting future demand from our own resources.”