THURROCK’s MP and a leading rival have clashed over the future of coal in energy generation.
The clash was sparked by last week’s shutdown of Tilbury Power Station after its failure to switch commercially from coal to a biomass replacement.
The Borough’s Tory MP Jackie Doyle-Price remains an advocate of coal but Polly Billington, who will contest the seat for Labour at the next elections, says she is passionatelyagainstit.
On the website ‘Conservative- home’ Ms Doyle-Price argues that Tilbury is an unnecessary loss to the UK and local economy.
She says: “For my part, I believe that killing off coal production was unwise. Coal is a relatively cheap source of energy.
“And the emissions from coal- fired stations are nothing compared with those generated by cars.
“The climate change lobby may pride themselves that they are ridding the world of dirty coal, but it is coming at a price that consumers will pay.
“Tilbury would have been a new coal station if Ed Miliband hadn’t decreed that no new coal- fired power stations be built unless they captured and buried all their greenhouse gases by 2025.
“In Germany they are building new coal stations; here, we are not. We will end up importing electricity from Germany anyway.
However Ms Billington says the blame for Tilbury lies with the Tories, adding: “I have met RWE to discuss the future of the power station after the devastating decision to close it because of the Government’s refusal to support cleaning up our energy supply.
“Although it has been “mothballed”, without a rapid change of direction from Jackie Doyle-Price’s Government, getting the power station back into use is likely to cost hundreds of millions of pounds and will take years.
“Jackie wants Britain and Thurrock to go back into the past rather than forward into the future with her call to return to coal for our energy needs.
“The closure of Tilbury power station is a great loss, not just for the employees but also for the country. Her Government’s failure to support this technology is short-sighted and means the UK could lose out in the race for clean energy.
“It could contribute to higher bills which already make families struggle. It also means a valuable piece of national infrastructure has been closed down.
“Jackie sees the answer in returning to old dirty coal. She is stuck in the past and won’t get Britain or Thurrock fit for the future.”