Britain’s coal producers are calling on the Government to change energy policies or face leaving consumers with the choice of whether to “heat or eat.”
The call comes as coal producers boast that the nation’s coal-fired power stations have been generating nearly half of the UK’s daily demand for electricity during the current cold spell.
“Without coal, the lights would have gone out right across the country”, says David Brewer, Director General of the Confederation of UK Coal Producers (CoalPro), the trade association that represents coal and associate industries.
“At a time when reserves of gas were near zero, Britain’s coal-fired power stations had weeks of supply in stock.”
Mr Brewer accuses the government of “Betting the shop on gas” and says recent events are a foretaste of what is to come unless the government changes its energy policy.
“Within 10 years, most of Britain’s coal-fired generating capacity will have closed because present policies will make it uneconomic to invest to allow them to meet European emissions requirements.
“From April 1, the Government will introduce a new carbon tax which alone will put up electricity prices by two per cent a year.
“Much worse than that, the present policies will mean that we will be dependent on gas for 70 per cent of our electricity during harsh winter months.”