Regeneration through clean generation – A better use of Kingsnorth

Comment by Trish Marchant

The closure of Kingsnorth coal power station 2 years early is, in a very real way, a complicated picture.

It is of course a personal disaster for the people being made redundant, although there is likely to be many good jobs for years to decommission the old station. For our energy security it is bad as it does produce 3% of Britain’s’ electricity.

In other ways it is good news. It is good for the health of the people of The Peninsula and may be the beginning of the end of the Hoo Hack. For climate change it is a good thing if it is not replaced by another coal, oil or fracked gas power station.

But what is really shown up in this news is the lack of a Government plan to meet our agreed CO2 targets. Or an energy plan come to that. If there was such a plan then the energy companies would be building renewable energy infrastructure that could create 100,000s of jobs and the government would be investing in the insulation of every home and business creating 100,000s more jobs.  Added to this is the governments cut in feed-in tariffs for everyone instead of a refocus of it to stop rented roof cowboys.

The land is to be held by E.On so we do not know that this is the end of their coal ambitions. They say it is economics not environmentalists that stopped it building new. They are waiting for the price to be right to build a new station there. It is a lack of an energy plan that gives them hope. Because sooner or later we will need new energy generation and if the government do nothing to encourage sustainable renewables then the likes of E.On will lobby for new coal.

Of course carbon capture and storage is off the books because the government would not fund the trial to the full amount and the energy companies pulled out. But they are capitalist companies surely they don’t believe in subsidies to get unproven technology fit to work. At least that’s what they say when it comes to renewables.

Unemployment in Medway is high. The council needs to do more to encourage small business, entrepreneurs and apprenticeships. They are the employers who have the biggest share of people in work, not the superstores. We needs to refill our empty shops and homes with local business and local people. To combat the rising cost of commuting and nondescript out of town shopping we need vibrant, locally focused town centres with proper markets and independent shops. With a decent bus service to get people in and out to our leisure, health and educational facilities as well as the shops. If the money spent in the Medway Towns stays in the Medway Towns we would have more invested, more spent, more employment, and more community.

The government of the UK and others in Europe could spend a fraction of the money they have wasted in propping up a failed economic model on jobs in the renewable industry. We would be employed, energy secure and protecting future generations from the effects of man made climate change.  The existing areas of industrial development on the Hoo Peninsula are ideal locations for regeneration through clean generation.

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