NUM urges re-think of Kellingley Colliery closure plan

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Politicians are being urged to overturn a decision not to provide funding to keep Kellingley Colliery open.

The pit near Knottingley is due to close at the end of this year with the loss of 700 jobs after a bid for state aid to keep it open was rejected.

The government said providing £338m to keep both Kellingley and Thoresby colliery, in Nottinghamshire, open until 2018 would not be value for money.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has called for the decision to be reversed after latest figures showed that coal is still the UK’s biggest source of electricity.

NUM president: “Shutting all our deep pits now is short-sighted and dangerous.”

Figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change show that coal provides 35.4 per cent of electricity generation, followed by gas at 26.9 per cent and nuclear at 19 per cent.

About 80 per cent of the coal comes from abroad. Of imported coal, 46 per cent came from Russia, 27 per cent from Columbia and 23 per cent was from America last year.

Mr Wilson said: “We still generate more than a third of our electricity from burning coal, making it the number one fuel.

“We might see that renewables are the future, but right now we rely on coal to keep the lights on.

“Do we want to rely on imports from Russia when we know how volatile that country is? We need to think about security of supply in a global market.”

The NUM has also disputed the government’s estimate of the costs of keeping Kellingley open because the £338m figure includes around £80m for redundancy that may never be needed.

Mr Wilson said: “Add to that the knock-on effect to the public purse of 1,300 people losing their jobs and it just doesn’t make sense to shut the pits.”