The closure of Ferrybridge Power Station, with the loss of up to 400 jobs, will be “devastating” for the surrounding area.
That’s the claim from Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper after site operators SSE announced the plant will close by the end of March 2016 due to rising costs and new environmental legislation.
Paul Smith, the company’s managing director, said its closure will lead to 172 of the company’s staff losing their jobs.
But unions say there will be up to 400 people put out of work by the plans as it will also affect sub-contractors working at the site.
Yvette Cooper, Pontefract and Castleford MP, said: “This is awful news not just for the 170 people who are employed directly but also for the hundreds of contractors who are expected to lose their jobs as well.
“This is also devastating for Ferrybridge and the surrounding area. It also comes on the back of job losses at Kellingley Colliery as well.”
Phil Whitehurst, national officer for the GMB union, said the site’s closure could lead to energy issues in winter 2016.
He said: “SSE has said 172 workers will lose their jobs but there is also the sub-contractors who work at Ferrybridge so I would imagine you could easily double their figure and it would be near to 400 people who will lose their jobs.
“On top of that you have also got the supply chain for the site and the knock-on effect its closure has on that. That effect could be an additional 400 jobs. It’s going to be absolutely devastating for the community around the site.”
One of the units at Ferrybridge was hit by a huge fire last July and has not returned to operation since.
Mr Whitehurst said: “The fire has, of course, had a big effect but Ferrybridge has longevity as a power station. It has years of life to supply electricity but renewable energy is heavily subsidised and the site simply wasn’t sustainable.
“But renewable energy is completely sustainable either. It doesn’t ring right with me that we should rely entirely on renewable sources for our energy.”