MORE than 200 workers could lose their jobs after it was announced work developing a new power plant at Tilbury Power Station had halted.
Workers were told on Monday by plant owners RWE npower that plans to build a dedicated biomass-fuelled power plant were on hold because of cost-cutting measures.
The future of the 220 workers is now in the balance as RWE looks to salvage the project.
Workers have been offered redundancy packages and been told there are a number of plants with positions available – although not enough to take all the workers, meaning job losses are inevitable.
Roger Miesen, chief technical officer at RWE Generation, said: ”It is with regret we are announcing the decision to halt the Tilbury biomass project.
“Discussions are ongoing, both with Government and with potential investment partners, and we hope a successful conclusion can be reached.
“This decision has not been taken lightly.”
It was announced in April that Tilbury Power Station in its current form would close on October 31, although some workers had signed up to helping develop the new plant.
The biomass plant would use sustainably-sourced wood pellets to generate renewable energy.
One worker, who did not wish to be named, said: “We had been told they were going to go ahead with the modifications, but a lot of workers were sceptical. We feel it was to bide time so we continued generating.
“We’ve been told we’ll cease generating around July 22. I’m a bit upset, I feel like we’ve been led along.
“For the job I do, I’ll need to be working in a power station. I’m nearing retirement so I have no idea what I’m going to do.”
Jackie Doyle-Price, MP for Thurrock, said: “The management at Tilbury and RWE npower are working very hard to make this happen, but it has to stack up in a business sense.
"If investment in Tilbury does not pay, there is something wrong with our energy regime and we simply have to get it fixed.
“We are closing down coal-fired stations every week because of EU regulations.
“We are going to struggle to keep the lights on in two years’ time if projects like Tilbury do not go ahead.
“I refuse to give up on this as I really do believe what is planned is great not just for the workers but for UK.”