HC Deb 09 May 1988 vol 133 c9
13. Mr. Pike

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy whether he has recently discussed with the Central Electricity Generating Board its proposals for flue gas desulphurisation to reduce acid rain.

Mr. Michael Spicer

We are fully aware that the CEGB plans to fit FGD equipment at a cost of £600 million to 6GW of existing plant as well as on all new coal-fired stations.

Mr. Pike

In view of the growing concern about acid rain, both in this country and elsewhere in Europe, is the Minister satisfied that the CEGB is proceeding with the work as speedily as possible? Does the Minister not believe that it may be necessary to take action on some of the other power stations?

Mr. Spicer

The United Kingdom now has a 10-year sulphur dioxide emission control programme costing about £1 billion. We accept that that speed is appropriate for controlling emissions. It is not often realised that Britain has reduced its emissions by 40 per cent. since 1970, and by 25 per cent. by 1980. We have done a tremendous amount already to reduce emissions, and we intend to continue the programme.

Mr. Butler

My constituents will be very grateful for the £200 million investment in Fiddler's Ferry, but when my hon. Friend next meets the CEGB will he suggest that some disruption may be caused to the local community in Cuerdley and ask the CEGB to minimise that disruption?

Mr. Spicer

I am sure that the CEGB will read carefully in Hansard what my hon. Friend has said. The matter is clearly causing some local concern, and I am sure that the CEGB will be aware of that.

Mr. Patchett

With gas desulphurisation in mind, has the Minister discussed the future of the fluidised bed experiment at Grimethorpe, in my constituency? Will he make a statement?

Mr. Spicer

I am afraid that I cannot make a statement now, but the Grimethorpe plant is being considered very carefully.

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