Prospect condemns UK pit closures as short-sighted

Prospect condemns UK pit closures as short-sighted

Two collieries in England will have to close this year, with the loss of thousands of jobs, because the government has refused to support UK Coal’s application for £338m of state aid, Prospect has warned (Thursday 26 March).

“This news is shocking for the staff and communities affected, but also short-sighted and foolish, given that the UK will continue to burn 30 to 40 million tonnes of coal each year to the end of this decade,” said Prospect Negotiator Michael Macdonald.

“What’s more, recent research shows that coal with carbon capture and storage (CCS) offers a cost-effective route to lower-carbon electricity.”

Energy Minister Matthew Hancock announced only limited support to enable the managed closure of both collieries – Kellingley in North Yorkshire, which employs 560 people, and Thoresby in Nottinghamshire, employing 400. Forty jobs at UK Coal’s Harworth headquarters will also disappear, along with more than 1,000 contractor and supply chain posts.

Macdonald said that the government’s delay in supporting the coal industry had increased the cost of state aid by over £120m.

“The government is trying to avoid a debate about the closures by sneaking in a written statement on the last day of this parliament,” he added.

“Coal will remain a significant fuel for many years but poor decisions by by the Department for Business mean only one colliery, at Hatfield, will be left in Britain by the end of the year.

“The staff of UK Coal and local communities deserve better. If the government continues to support CCS, then foreign coal will be burnt in power stations that sit on substantial coal reserves. We need a long-term energy policy that retains a role for domestic coal.”

Prospect represents 100 colliery managers and engineers across both sites.


Media inquiries to:

Michael Macdonald 01924 207890 (w) 0770 304486 (m)

Penny Vevers 020 7902 6606 (w) 07713 511710 (m)