Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) technology aims to capture carbon dioxide emissions and store them permanently underground. The government expects the technology to play a significant role in achieving net zero by 2050, but there is not yet any CCUS infrastructure operating at a commercial scale in the UK. Government’s ambition is to have the first CCUS plant operating by the mid-2020s; and to then scale up so CCUS plants are capturing and storing 20 to 30 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually by 2030.

Since we last reported on CCUS in 2017, the government has adapted its approach to supporting the technology by broadening its scope to cover other industries, and adapting the way risks are shared between government and investors.

The Department for Energy Security & Net Zero (DESNZ) is responsible for the CCUS programme. In March 2023, HM Treasury confirmed £20 billion of funding for CCUS over the next 20 years.


This report will examine if DESNZ:

  • set up the CCUS programme in a way that considers costs and benefits, and addresses implementation challenges
  • is making good progress implementing the programme 
  • is well placed to support the longer-term deployment of the CCUS programme

NAO Team

Director: Simon Bittlestone
Senior Audit Manager: Terry Caulfield