Statement on Rugeley Power Station

Amanda Milling, Member of Parliament for Cannock Chase, stated: Today’s announcement by ENGIE confirming Rugeley B Power Station will be ceasing operations at the end of June is incredibly disappointing news, although not unexpected given their announcement in February that this was likely to happen, given deteriorating market conditions. The closure of the power station really is the end of an era, being one of the last remaining connections to our historic mining heritage, with much of the locally mined coal going to the two power stations. This news is a real blow to the Rugeley community, most particularly for the employees, contactors and wider supply chain. The power station's workforce is drawn from a wide area and many surrounding towns and villages will be affected as well as Rugeley. Since the original announcement of the potential closure I have visited the power station several times and held numerous meetings with ENGIE's management team, trade union representatives and Government Ministers, including the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, the Rt. Hon. Amber Rudd MP, to discuss the support that can be provided for the workforce as well as the future of the site should the power station close. At this difficult time it is most important that we all work together to help affected staff and contractors. I would like to call on local businesses, which have both skilled and unskilled vacancies, to contact the Power Station and the Cannock Job Centre Plus so that the workforce, including both employees and contractors, are aware of any vacancies. The plant has a wealth of skilled employees including fabricators, engineers, management, maintenance and high pressure welders – to name just a few. Many of the employees are also highly experienced having worked at the power station for many years. Talking to local businesses I know there is real demand for experienced and skilled employees. I am holding a Jobs Fair at Rugeley Rose Theatre on Friday 17 June, 10am-1pm, to help those affected and will be working with my neighbouring MPs on this. I would like to encourage any local businesses that have vacancies to contact my office if they would like to attend this Jobs Fair. It is important to note that approximately 30 people will be kept on for several months for the decommissioning of the power station so this valuable time will allow for more of the workforce to find new jobs. Turning to the future of the site. The redevelopment of the power station site represents a major opportunity for Rugeley. The site is a significant size and could accommodate numerous development opportunities which can provide both employment and housing for the area. The redevelopment of the Rugeley A Power Station and Lea Hall Colliery sites demonstrate what can be achieved – now these sites are home to housing, business parks and logistics centres – which have created thousands of new jobs. Since ENGIE's announcement in February I have been holding talks with the management team, the Taskforce, local authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships, and government ministers about how the site can be speedily redeveloped to capitalise on the opportunities that it presents for our area and the local economy. This included visiting the site with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, the Rt. Hon. Greg Clark MP, last month and holding a debate in Parliament about the future uses of the Rugeley B site. In the coming weeks and months I will continue to hold talks with all parties, both locally and nationally, so that we can ensure that workforce are supported in finding new roles and ensuring that there are no delays in the redevelopment of this strategically important site. You can read Engie's announcement here - http://www.gdfsuezukeurope.com/news/press-releases/2016/20-05-2016.aspx