UK Decarbonisation and Carbon Capture and Storage — [Mr Clive Betts in the Chair]

Part of Backbench Business – in Westminster Hall at 3:23 pm on 24th January 2017.

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Photo of Sammy Wilson Sammy Wilson Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Treasury), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Work and Pensions), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Education) 3:23 pm, 24th January 2017

No. I only have seven minutes and I do not want to rule out my hon. Friend Jim Shannon, or I will get in his bad books.

My second point is on the action required to do what is envisaged. As has been mentioned, part of the infrastructure is in place, and we may well be able to use redundant oil pipelines, but they must be linked to power stations, which must be where the centres of population are. I am fairly sure that we do not want to build power stations where most pipelines come ashore, unless we mean to build a huge infrastructure to distribute the power. Environmentalists have not cottoned on to the point that the plan is like fracking in reverse. Instead of fracking to get gas out of the ground, we will pump gas into the reservoirs, with all the same implications, according to environmentalists, for stability and leakage.

We in Northern Ireland are going through a constitutional crisis because of a botched energy scheme. I do not think that that warranted the outcome, but nevertheless we are living with it. I want to hear from the Minister about four things related to that. First, what will the cost be? Secondly, if there are costs involved, who pays them? Thirdly, what about the incentive structures? It is not lost on anybody that even some producers of traditional energy are now running after all of these green schemes. Why? Because the lucrative incentives increase their profits and fill their coffers—we saw that with the scheme in Northern Ireland. Fourthly, what kind of regulatory framework will be put in place?

The Government are right not to go ahead with the second exercise until they are sure of the answers to those questions. Even more fundamentally, they must ask whether the impact of decarbonising the economy on consumers, workers, industry and investment is worth it.