April 23: Rundown of Yorkshire coal puts power in Russia’s hands

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From: Mr N Wilson, NUM president, Barnsley.

THE last remaining deep coal mines in the UK will close unless the new Government grants them state aid.

Yet coal is the biggest source of electricity generation in this country, with more than a third of our energy still being generated by burning the fossil fuel.

The latest Government figures show that 35.4 per cent of our electricity is produced from coal. Just 26.9 per cent comes from burning gas and nuclear power stations generate only 19 per cent.

We accept that renewables have a future. But right now we need to think about the security of our energy supply. We currently import 80 per cent of the coal we use in power stations and in heavy industry. About half of our imports come from Russia.

The coalition government turned down a request from UK Coal for financial aid to keep their two deep pits open. So once Kellingley, in North Yorkshire, and Thoresby, in Nottinghamshire, close, we will have just one deep mine left – Hatfield in South Yorkshire. And the future of that pit is far from certain. Look at what else is happening with the coal industry in Europe and ask is it really sensible to destroy our supply of this vital fuel? The alternative is that we are in the hands of the Russians to keep our lights on.