Closing Hatfield and England’s other deep mines endangers energy security


Closing Hatfield and England’s other deep mines endangers energy security, warns Prospect union

Prospect has expressed dismay that an £8m government loan to Hatfield Colliery in South Yorkshire is conditional on its staged closure by summer 2016, with the loss of 500 jobs.

The union represents 19 management team members at the colliery, which has been run by an employee-owned trust since 2013. The decision  announced today (7 January) will leave England with a tiny handful of very small mines, said negotiator Michael Macdonald.

An 18-month managed closure programme is already under way for England’s two other large deep mines, Kellingley and Thoresby, owned by UK Coal.

Macdonald warned: “Great Britain will continue to consume 30-40 million tonnes of coal each year to the end of this decade. These closures will reduce the security of energy supplies and expose consumers to rising international prices after 2017.

“While managed closure is preferable to immediate closure, the death of the UK coal industry is not in the public interest. The UK retains significant coal reserves and coal remains part of the electricity generation mix.

“We call on the government to support state aid for all three of England’s deep mines to secure their continued operations until 2018 and protect highly skilled jobs in coalfield communities.

“This would protect the coal industry while informed decisions are made about the medium-term supplies of coal for power stations. It is ironic that as the taxpayer is providing financial support for the construction of an environmentally-friendly carbon capture and storage power station at Drax, government policy will shut the coal mines that would fuel it.”