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Under-sea CO2 storage licensing plans published

The Government today set out how it will license the storage of carbon dioxide under the sea bed, following responses to its recent consultation…

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Government today set out how it will license the storage of carbon dioxide under the sea bed, following responses to its recent consultation on the geological storage of CO2.

During the consultation, developers, industry bodies and other interested parties gave their view on potential plans for the broad structure of the proposed licensing system. This includes a proposal for having a license which would cover all phases of such developments.

Publishing the Government’s response to the consultation, Charles Hendry MP, Minister of State for Energy said:

“Carbon capture and storage is essential for mitigating climate change while maintaining energy security. There is enough potential under the North Sea to store more than 100 years worth of carbon dioxide emissions from the UK’s power fleet and we need to make the most of that.

“I am pleased that investors and experts who will take this exciting and crucial technology forward are happy with our approach, and that we can take our next steps without delay”.

DECC will now lay the regulations in Parliament in order to comply with European rules on the underground storage of carbon dioxide and these will come into effect on 1 October.

Notes for editors

  1. DECC received 29 responses to its consultation, launched in September 2009 - view press release

  2. The response published today deals with the points raised that were relevant to the core licensing provisions of the Directive. Where comments have been made about other aspects of the Directive (such as the third party access provisions) these have been brought to the attention of the relevant officials within Government. The full DECC response is available on the consultation page.

  3. Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) involves capturing carbon dioxide from power stations and transporting it to geological sites where it will remain safely stored and permanently isolated from the atmosphere. Development and deployment of CCS has the potential to reduce the CO2 emissions from power stations by around 90%, and make a significant contribution towards the UK and international climate change goals. The Government Response and the regulations deal with the last part of the CCS process - the permanent geological storage of the carbon dioxide.

  4. The Energy Act 2008 established a legislative basis for permitting the offshore storage of carbon dioxide. That framework is intended to ensure that there are clear, fit-for-purpose provisions setting out the requirements that must be met in licensing this activity, in order to encourage investment in offshore storage projects and minimise the potential impact on the environment.

  5. European Union Directive (2009/31/EC) on geological storage was agreed in February 2009 and came into force on 25 June 2009. It has to be transposed into national law by 25 June 2011.

  6. The regulations will apply in all offshore areas within UK jurisdiction, except Scottish territorial waters. The Scottish Government will make separate regulations for Scottish territorial waters.

Published 27 August 2010