Government in crisis: Adviser puts case for coal

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A KEY adviser to the Commons Trade and Industry Select Committee yesterday put the case for coal and said a government energy policy which put the nation's long-term interests first was overdue, writes Nicholas Schoon.

John Chesshire, from Sussex University's Science Policy Research Unit and an adviser to the former Commons energy committee, will help the committee's MPs weigh and interpret the evidence they receive in their emergency inquiry into the future of coal.

Speaking at the National Society for Clean Air's annual conference in Bournemouth, he called for a halt to 'the present absurdity' in which the nation's energy sources were being decided by an 'unseemly conflict' between a duopoly the electricity industry and a monopoly, British Coal.

He said last week's announcement of pit closures flowed from a flawed market system in which the privatised generators had ruthlessly defended 'narrow, corporate, commercial advantage'.