A Runcorn facility could become the first of its kind in the country to roll out a new process designed to help protect the environment from fossil fuels, creating dozens of new jobs in the process.

The Viridor energy from waste facility at Weston Point has been short-listed by the government as a possible site for industrial carbon capture (ICC) sequencing.

Carbon capture is the process of trapping carbon dioxide (Co2) produced by the burning of fossil fuels and chemicals, and then storing it in places such as undersea caverns so it does not enter the atmosphere and contribute to global warming.

Grant Shapps, the energy and net zero secretary, announced the move as part of the 'powering up Britain' strategy earlier today (Thursday). The government selected eight projects in all from an original shortlist of 20. The successful bidders include three in what is called the East Coast Cluster in the North East, and Hynet in the North West - which includes the Runcorn site.

They have now all been selected to proceed to the next stage of negotiations, with the prize of government financial support a step closer.

If given the go ahead, the £400m Runcorn project would see the capture of 900,000 tonnes of Co2 a year. It would be the first of its kind in the country at an energy from waste plant, and one of only a handful in the world.

As well as design and construction jobs, the firm claims it would create around 60 permanent jobs once it is up and running.

Kevin Bradshaw, CEO of Viridor, welcomed the news. He said: "All credible analysis shows CCS to be essential to achieve the UK’s net zero commitments.

"Carbon capture on energy recovery facilities is critical if we are to de-carbonise the waste sector.

"Viridor is proud to be working with government to lead the way. We look forward to engaging with the government to ensure that the UK becomes a world leader in industrial carbon capture.”

But some experts, such as Bob Ward, head of policy at the Grantham Institute, have questioned the use of carbon capture, saying that rather than continuing to use fossil fuels and then relying on it to try and mitigate the damage, money should be used to pursue renewable energy sources instead.