Unite, Britain’s largest union, and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) have joined forces to campaign for the preservation and extension of Britain’s last remaining mines and coal fired power stations, through the use of revolutionary eco-technologies.
Thirty years on from Britain’s miners’ strike, mining jobs and coal field communities are once again threatened, as UK and European carbon emission rules could mean the premature closure of coal fired power stations and mines. This could mean a devastating loss to Britain’s energy production and leave the country with just one working deep mine.
The unions want to save the country’s coal fired power stations and mines from closure, and for new and mothballed pits to be opened through the use of British deep and surface mined coal.
To achieve this, the campaign calls for the immediate introduction of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies to protect the environment and ensure Britain’s energy future.
CCS technologies enable the return of carbon dioxide emissions from the power stations safely back underground, where they can be permanently stored and monitored to ensure they do not re-enter the atmosphere.
Unite, which has the most members in the coal-producing industry, estimates that the deployment of CCS could reduce the overall carbon emissions from coal fired power stations by around 90 per cent and could also see a reduction in the price of wholesale electricity by 15 per cent.
Unite national officer for energy Kevin Coyne, said: “Coal produces 30 per cent of the nation’s energy requirements and, without CCS, most power stations are due to close by 2026, with approximately 12 due to close by 2015.
“Whilst we welcome the deployment of carbon capture storage technology at Drax power station in north Yorkshire, this is far too little, too late.
“The reduction in capacity on base load will take us outside of the reserve limit set by Ofgem and it has already commented that this is a real danger to electricity supply.
“In order to bridge this gap, we need a balanced energy solution which sees carbon capture and storage at UK coal fired stations playing an integral role along with the jobs that will come from the reopening of Britain’s vast energy reserves.”
Unite and NUM will launch a Cleaner Coal and Coal Combine website tomorrow (Saturday 28 June), with the aim to unite workers in the energy sector. The new website can be viewed here.
For further information please contact Unite communications officer Rae Passfield on 020 3371 2058 and/or Kevin Coyne Unite national officer on 07798 531 006.
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1
Notes to Editors:
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.