Energy giant E.ON has announced the closure of a power station, leading to the loss of more than 100 jobs.
The firm said that the Kingsnorth site in Kent will cease power generation next March after running out of its allocated operating hours under European Union environmental legislation.
Under the EU’s Large Combustion Plant Directive, polluting power stations that were not adapted to meet emissions-reduction targets will have to close after generating for 20,000 hours from January 2008, or by the end of 2015, whichever comes first.
Dr Tony Cocker, chief executive of E.ON UK, said: “Kingsnorth has played a huge part in powering the country for many decades. I want to pay tribute to the thousands of men and women who have worked at the station over its lifetime, bringing light and warmth to the homes and businesses of the UK.
“We’ve been working hard with colleagues at the station to help, guide and support them through the process which will be ongoing until the station closes. In addition to our colleagues, we will be communicating with the local community in the coming weeks about our closure plans.”
Kingsnorth was one of two schemes shortlisted as part of the Government’s competition to build the UK’s first commercial carbon capture and storage (CCS) scheme, but E.ON announced in October 2010 that it would not proceed to the next stage.
Phil Whitehurst, national officer of the GMB union, said: “The news Kingsnorth Power station is closing nearly two years early is devastating for the local community.”