Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, has today (11th September 2013) made a plea to Business Ministers and a North East MEP asking them to intervene immediately to re-open discussions on planned European Commission reductions in carbon emission permits – a reduction that will further reduce the effectiveness and profitability of the Teesside Steel Industry.
“This sudden decision came like a bolt from the blue. It is highly technical, but what has happened is that the European Commission has decided to amend the level of free carbon emission allocations for large industrial installations by 5.73% in 2013, increasing thereafter to 17.56% in 2020. The average reduction of free allocation will be 11.58% over the period 2013 to 2020.
“This is a devastating blow in particular to Europe’s steel industry, whose allocations had already been reduced to below what the industry will require over the period. This measure will cost Tata Steel, for example, tens of millions of pounds of additional costs – costs not faced by our competitors outside Europe – as they will now have to buy additional carbon emission permits on the market through what is known as ‘carbon trading’.
“This is despite the steel industry here already being designated by the European Commission as ‘at risk of carbon leakage’ driving steel production out of Europe to regions without a carbon tax and generally less efficient plants – for example a tonne of steel made in China emits on average 60% more CO2 than one made in Europe.
“The Government must act – and act quickly. It is unbelievable that such a measure was allowed to slip through unnoticed as, undoubtedly; UK civil servants would have been present at the relevant meetings. I have written to Dr Vince Cable the Secretary of State for Business and to Michael Fallon MP at the Department for Energy and Climate Change as well as to Stephen Hughes, the North East Labour Member of the European Parliament, asking them to intervene, even at the 11th hour, to see if this mad decision can be reversed.”