It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Betts, and I will do my best. I congratulate Philip Boswell on securing this debate, which comes at a particularly opportune time, following the publication yesterday of the Government’s Green Paper, “Building our Industrial Strategy.”
I served with the hon. Gentleman on the group chaired by the noble Lord Oxburgh, which published its report on the future of CCS last September. I commend the noble Lord on the way he chaired the group and for looking at all the evidence, seeking out all views and arriving at what I believe are sound and sensible recommendations that the Government should put into practice as soon as possible. It should be noted that the report has been welcomed globally and the noble Lord has been invited to such countries as Norway, Australia and Canada to talk about it.
The group’s membership was wide-ranging and cross-party, and included independent experts from the fields of industry and research. We heard from a wide range of witnesses who work in research and development, industry, and banking, as well as groups such as the Committee on Climate Change. We set out with no preconceived ideas about what our conclusions might be, mindful that the Government’s cancellation of the CCS competition on cost grounds might mean that CCS was a non-starter. We considered a wide range of evidence and concluded that CCS has a crucial role to play if the UK is to deliver the emissions reductions to which it is committed at the lowest possible cost to consumers and taxpayers.