James O'Brien 10am - 1pm
Nick Ferrari confronts minister for clean growth over new coal mine
18 February 2020, 09:39
"Doesn't it seem rather at odds that it could be, under your government, that we have a new coal mine in Bradley in Durham?" Nick Ferrari asked minister for clean growth Kwasi Kwarteng.
This is after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced earlier this month that coal power will be phased out by 2024 to fight climate change.
Nick pushed Mr Kwarteng to answer why there are proposals for this new coal mine when the government are pledging a £90 million package which includes plans to develop Europe's first ever hydrogen production plant.
Mr Kwarteng avoided the question and instead commented how "remarkable" it was that the attitudes towards coal has altered so dramatically since the 80s.
"So you are in support of this open cast coal site?" asked Nick.
"I'm not in support of having more coal. What I'm saying is the strategy, and we're sticking to it, and we're going to achieve it, is we're going to take coal off the generating grid," Mr Kwarteng said, "which, for a country that was built on coal in the industrial revolution is an extraordinary achievement."
"But why would we have another mine?" Nick pushed.
Mr Kwarteng said he didn't think the Durham mine would be a "permanent feature", and Nick questioned, "What, a temporary mine?"
Mr Kwarteng insisted that Nick should "celebrate" that the UK is taking coal off the grid and said he was "old enough to remember" when coal was essential.
"With that great ambition, we still need another coal mine in Bradley?" Nick repeated, "We're taking coal off the system and opening another open cast coal site. Do you not accept, minister, they're mixed messages?"
Mr Kwarteng replied that this was a local authority decision of which he had no part, and confirmed that by 2024, just as the Prime Minister pledged, 0% of our electricity will be powered by coal.