Business secretary John Hutton's plans to see a new coal-fired power station under construction this summer suffered a significant setback after E.ON, the company behind the controversial £1.5bn Kingsnorth power plant, asked him to delay the decision on whether the plant should be built.
E.ON said the Kent project should not be approved until the government had finished consultation this year on regulating carbon capture and storage.
Stop Climate Chaos member Greenpeace said E.ON had expected Kingsnorth to be given the go-ahead by the end of May, and claimed government policy over coal was in disarray, with ministers worried about the damage to Britain's reputation if Kingsnorth went ahead.
"E.ON's Kingsnorth climbdown is a major blow to John Hutton and his plans to have a new coal-fired power station under construction this summer," said John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace.
"With the most ardent coal generator now calling for a delay, Hutton's under-fire department is looking isolated. It's time for the prime minister to step in and take control by initiating a full government coal review," add Mr Sauven.
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published: 11:30 - 1 April 2008