Ellesmere Port will not be preferred home of 'hydrogen village', Cadent says

Plans for a town to become the first switch to hydrogen energy in the UK will not go ahead, Cadent has confirmed.

The scheme in Whitby in Ellesmere Port had caused controversy with claims residents were being forced to switch their natural gas, cooking and heating to green hydrogen.

There were concerns over the cost and safety of moving to hydrogen power.

Now, Cadent have said in a statement that the government is likely to choose Redcar in North Yorkshire instead.

Cadent had hoped for Whitby to be pioneering the new project. Credit: Cadent

Cadent said: "We know that this will be disappointing to the many residents who told us they wanted their community to play a pioneering role in decarbonising how we heat our homes in the UK.

"We are incredibly grateful to everyone in Whitby who has given us their time and attention over the last year as we have developed our proposal.

“We believe strongly in the role that hydrogen can play alongside other technologies and energy sources in reaching net zero.

"While Whitby won’t to be the location for the trial, the information we have gained over the last 12 months will still play an invaluable role in shaping how the UK heats its homes and businesses in the future.

“Reaching net zero and keeping the UK’s homes and businesses safely and securely supplied with energy needs the whole of society to work together. Should the trial progress in Redcar, it will be an important step forward: NGN have our best wishes and full support.

“This isn’t goodbye from us to the residents of Whitby. Beyond a final decision from Government on the project location in the Autumn, we will continue to keep people in the community safe and warm as their gas distribution network.

"We will also continue to work relentlessly to make sure that our customers have access to options that meet their diverse needs on the journey to net zero.”

Many residents had campaigned against the proposals due to the lack of choice in switching. Credit: PA Images

Justin Madders, MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston, said: “This decision has been inevitable for some time and I hope the Government and gas networks will learn from the mistakes that have been made in this process.

“It is clear that asking people to try experimental new forms of energy consumption for their homes will not work unless basic questions about safety, efficacy and cost can be answered from the start.

“It is also clear that leaving people with the impression that this was happening without their consent sent entirely the wrong message out about how we need to tackle climate change.

“We need written cast iron assurances that this is the end of the matter and that the people of Whitby and Ellesmere Port will not have foisted on them at some later date a hydrogen village, a hydrogen town or some other variant. Local people have had enough.”

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