A controversial new coal-fired power station to be built by E.ON in England is expected to be delayed until 2016, it has been revealed.

The German utility does not want to commit to making the investment for two to three years, according to the Daily Telegraph.

E.ON was competing with Scottish Power and RWE npower for about £1bn of government funding to fit the plant with the UK’s first carbon capture and storage technology.

E.ON refused to comment on the government funding, claiming that the delay was due to lower demand for electricity because of the recession. “As a group, we remain committed to the development of cleaner coal and carbon capture and storage,” a spokesman told the newspaper.

The plans for the plant have drawn criticism from environmental groups, which say that new coal-fired stations should not be built at all.