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Longannet statement

Published: 3 Sep 2015 15:28

Minister updates Parliament following Longannet closure.

UK energy policy was labelled 'totally irrational' by Ministers today as Parliament was updated on the closure of Longannet power station next March.

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing outlined the impact the closure will have on Scotland's economy and the actions underway to mitigate the effects and support workers.

Mr Ewing said:

"Facing unfair transmission charges and rising costs of carbon, Scottish Power concluded that electricity production at Longannet is no longer commercially viable. This is deeply regrettable, and in our view unavoidable and will have far reaching consequences for the workers, businesses and communities impacted.

"With spare capacity across the UK running perilously low, Longannet could have played an important role in keeping lights for several years to come as we continue towards cleaner forms of generation, all the more so in light of yesterday's announcement that a similar sized power station, Eggborough in Yorkshire, will also close.

"Yet UK energy policy remains totally irrational – just when we need new, cleaner generation to safeguard our security of supply, the UK Government is doing nothing to incentivise this, forcing the country's second largest power station to close while slashing support for renewables.

"We fought hard to achieve a different outcome for Longannet yet the UK Government, from the Prime Minister down, refused to lift a finger.

"Following news in March that Longannet had lost out on National Grid's voltage control contract, I made a Parliamentary statement and have since met twice with Scottish Power, Fife Council and workforce representatives to assess the situation and consider ways to secure the best possible outcomes for those affected.

"Those meetings helped us to gather workforce and supplier information, and create the basis for a collegiate and coordinated response. Now that closure has been announced, we will continue to do all we can to secure the best outcome possible from this disappointing situation.

"We have now established the Longannet taskforce to develop a joint, multi-agency action plan and to produce an Economic Recovery Plan. That will support workers to find new jobs, mitigate the effects on the supply chain, produce a masterplan for the long-term future of the Longannet site and consider how best to create sustainable employment in the local area."

Notes to editors

The Longannet taskforce met on Monday 24 August and was co-chaired by Energy Minister Fergus Ewing and Cllr David Ross, Leader of Fife Council. A roundtable for businesses most impacted by the closure was held on Monday 31 August.