Today (Thursday 11th February), Michael Fabricant raised the plight of Rugeley Power Station workers in Parliament:-
Michael Fabricant (Lichfield) (Con):
My right hon. Friend will know about the recent announcement of the closure of Rugeley power station, which is half in my constituency and half in that of my hon. Friend the Member for Cannock Chase (Amanda Milling). The station was sited there in the first place because of a coalmine, which, like many others throughout western Europe, is long gone. However, the closure may mean that up to 150 people are made redundant, although ENGIE says it will try to redeploy them elsewhere. Will my right hon. Friend commit to speak to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions about actively playing a role in making sure that those workers can be re-employed elsewhere?
Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd:
I thank my hon. Friend for that question, and we have, of course, spoken already this week about this matter. I have also spoken to his neighbour, whose constituency covers half the Rugeley power plant area. I will, of course, actively engage with my hon. Friend and his colleague to make sure that we do what we can for the people who have lost their jobs.
Michael adds: “Every job loss is regrettable and a personal tragedy for the individual involved. Fortunately, however, we live in an area where there is very low unemployment and Rugeley Power Station’s owners have committed to redeploy some of the power station’s workers. If any individuals have particular personal issues, I am always available to help.
“But the closure of coal fired power stations in the UK have been a long time coming. Apart from major pollution issues, coal mining throughout Western Europe has virtually ceased which means there is no local source of fuel which was the original reason for locating the power station at Rugeley in the first place – to be close to the long-gone Lea Hall Colliery.
“It is sad, but inevitable that Rugeley Power Station would eventually have to close. We must now concentrate on finding alternative uses for the site to include both work opportunities and much needed housing.
“In that respect, I raised a crucial point in Parliament with the Communities Secretary, Greg Clark.”
Hansard from Monday 8th February:
Michael Fabricant (Lichfield) (Con): My right hon. Friend is keen, as am I, on building on brownfield sites. With the closure of coal-fired power stations, including the closure of one in my constituency, what are we doing to encourage building on brownfield sites that include contaminated land?
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Greg Clark: I am grateful for my hon. Friend’s question. In the spending review the Chancellor established a fund to decontaminate brownfield sites so that they can be made available for house building in the way that my hon. Friend recommends.