Lights out at Ferrybridge Power Station

Ferrybridge Power Station by John Craven,,Baildon
Ferrybridge Power Station by John Craven,,Baildon

Ferrybridge Power Station will stop generating electricity today after 50 years of production.

At its peak the station helped to provide electricity for more than two million people.

The coal-fired power station, which has been operated by SSE since 2004, will officially close on March 31 before being decommissioned.

Mick Gee, Ferrybridge C’s Station Manager, said: “In the eight years I’ve been station manager I’m proud to have worked with some amazing people. I want to acknowledge the contribution from all those who’ve been part of the ‘Ferrybridge family,’ past and present. It’s always been a special place to work where people help each other without asking.

“I also want to thank the local community for their support over the years. Ferrybridge’s cooling towers have been a distinctive landmark for half a century and people have always valued our contribution to the local economy and our role as a responsible neighbour. We’re very proud of that too.”

SSE announced last year that it would shut the station because the site was deemed to be “no longer economical”.

It said costs at the 50-year-old power station had been rising due its age and environmental legislation, and it was forecast to lose £100m over the next five years.

Pontefract and Castleford MP wrote to energy bosses earlier this month to ask them to reconsider a worker-led plan to keep the site running for at least another year.

She said: “It is clear that there is still enough coal on site at Ferrybridge to maintain production at the current levels for at least another year - possibly more.

“I understand SSE rejected a plan for the station to use up this coal but I want them to revisit this plan and keep the station open as long as possible.”

Ms Cooper has been fighting to save the station from closure alongside workers at the plant and trade unions.

A SSE spokesman said: “We have engaged with Yvette Cooper MP. Our focus since we took the difficult decision to close Ferrybridge Power Station has been on minimising the impact on employees.

“We have re-deployed people to other sites where possible and other staff will stay on to help with the decommissioning of the site. Others have opted to take an enhanced early redundancy release package.

“The difficult decision taken at Ferrybridge reflects the economic realities of coal fired power stations. As a result, keeping Ferrybridge open is not possible.”

Knottingley councillor Graham Stokes said around 120 people work at the plant.

He said he expects around 60 employees will take redundancy next week while the remaining staff will carry out decommissioning work over the next 12 months.

He said: “People are devastated. It has been there as long as people can remember and has provided employment and a good standard of living for local people.

“These people are now going to be out of work and looking for jobs.”