UNIONS are urging the Government to embrace carbon capture and storage (CCS) to create North-East jobs and cut rising energy bills.

Unite and the National Union of Mineworkers say the UK must act quickly if it wants to be a world leader in CCS technology.

The calls come after the Tees Valley secured Government City Deal status, which it is hoped can accelerate the revolutionary work on industrial emissions in the region.

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Kevin Coyne, Unite national officer, said: “Our message to the Government is simple; capture carbon or lose jobs.

“The UK is facing a make or break moment if the country is to take advantage of its prime position to be a world leader in carbon capture technology.

“If the Government steps up and embraces carbon capture it will cut energy bills, create jobs and reduce CO2 emissions.”

The Government's decision to devolve powers to the Tees Valley is expected to support 3,500 jobs and attract £38m of private investment, as well as being a key component in making the region a pioneer of CCS.

It would use energy from Tees Valley's industries to heat businesses, homes, hospitals and council buildings.

If a team of engineers can prove it works, it will be the first of its kind in the UK.