Council backs moves to look at hydrogen solution for transport in Wales

19/07/2018

Caerphilly Council has backed a Plaid Cymru motion which looks to unlock the potential of hydrogen to power trains and buses, cutting pollution.

A notice of motion on The Potential of Hydrogen in the Decarbonisation of Transport in Wales, proposed by Councillor Phil Bevan was supported by members of all parties.

The motion urged the Welsh Government to hold discussions with businesses, local authorities and researchers to trigger the development of a comprehensive hydrogen economy strategy. Germany, Austria, Ontario, Canada and China are developing hydrogen-powered trains.

Councillor Phil Bevan said: “This must be an issue that must be close to everybody’s heart. We are all concerned about pollution, especially in Caerphilly, where there are two areas that are the worst in whole of the United Kingdom, which is really concerning.

“The Assembly has done some work in 2010 but it did not get anywhere. Even in little Costa Rica the president has said his nation will take on the low carbon commitment and use hydrogen.”

In his submission supporting the notice of motion, Councillor Phil Bevan stated: “The potential of hydrogen to help solve some of the biggest problems facing Wales now and in the future in terms of air pollution, climate change and the need for clean, renewable energy as well as great economic potential needs to be fully explored.

“Due to its versatility, abundance and practical benefits, hydrogen offers one of the main pathways to decarbonisation.”

Councillor Colin Mann, leader of the Plaid Cymru group, who seconded the motion, said there was huge potential in using hydrogen “because we are surrounded by the stuff.”

He quoted an example from the paper which mentioned the Zillertal railway in Austria which has brought in a hydrogen scheme for around half the cost of electrification. 

He also argued that there was potential to use hydrogen in the South Wales Metro scheme. This could mean the scheme being completed for lower than budget or, indeed, a more comprehensive scheme for the same budget.

“There needs to be a real push from the Welsh Government to make this a reality.”

The Notice of Motion stated:

 (i) Notes the report, 'The Potential of Hydrogen in the Decarbonisation of Transport in Wales', which was published by Simon Thomas AM.

(ii) Notes the Welsh Government's stated intention to build on existing skills and expertise to lead in the UK in hydrogen research and development and investment.

(iii) Calls on the Welsh Government to hold discussions with local authorities, businesses, researchers and bodies about holding a key event to convey Wales' ambition in relation to the hydrogen economy to a worldwide audience and to trigger the development of a comprehensive hydrogen economy strategy.