Planned closure will bring job losses in West Yorkshire’s coal-based energy sector to 1,000

Tim Lezard Europe, UK, Unite,

Eggborough power stationThe government should investigate the adverse impact of the planned closure of the Eggborough coal-fired power station in West Yorkshire which will bring the job losses in the region’s coal-based energy sector to about 1,000.

Unite called on energy secretary Amber Rudd to consider the loss of electricity to the National Grid of this latest coal-fired power station closure and warned there could be power cuts this winter, if the weather is harsh.

Yesterday’s announcement that Eggborough may cease generating in March next year, with the loss of about 240 full-time jobs and work for about 200 contracted workers, follows the news that Ferrybridge C power station is also set to shut next March and the closure of Kellingley  Colliery, the last deep pit in England.

Unite regional officer Kelvin Mawer said: “What has happened to the coal-based energy sector in West Yorkshire in recent months is devastating to those losing their jobs – which we estimate at about 1,000 jobs overall – and a crippling blow to the local economy.

“Energy secretary Amber Rudd should take a long, hard look at the energy needs of the country. Coal is the cheapest form of energy, especially if the carbon tax was lowered. Britain is sitting on a huge reservoir of coal.

“By closing Eggborough and Ferrybridge C, you are reducing their contribution to the grid by about eight per cent, enough to power about four million homes. If there is a harsh winter this year, we believe that energy demands will be so stretched, power cuts could be on the cards.

“Unite is meeting the Eggborough management next Tuesday. Our first goal will be to explore avenues that may keep the power station open. Until we have had those talks, we don’t know how viable this will be.”

Eggborough Power Limited (EPL), owned by central European energy group Energetický a Průmyslový Holding,  said the decision was due to EPL’s ‘unsustainable financial position’,  as a result of a combination of market and regulatory conditions, including the failure in its attempts to gain support from government to convert to biomass at the 53-year-old plant.

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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