County MSP Iain Gray and MP Fiona O’Donnell today (Friday 20 August) visited Cockenzie Power Station. The two local parliamentarians were keen to meet with staff and management following East Lothian Council’s decision to reject the proposed transition from coal to gas.
Iain Gray said: “Cockenzie has an important role to play in keeping the lights on in Scotland and securing our energy supply in the future.
“At the meeting, I was reassured by Scottish Power’s commitment to the project; however the process has not been helped by the actions of the council and I am concerned about the impact of a public enquiry on the refurbishment of Cockenzie and the consequences for local jobs.
Fiona said: “Cockenzie is part of the county’s industrial heritage. On my first visit to the plant I met some of the 150 core staff whose jobs would be lost if the plans to convert the station do not go ahead.
As well as job losses at the site, many local contractors and local businesses would suffer if the station was to close. Protecting local jobs and businesses is my top priority and there are 1,000 construction jobs at stake during the refurbishment stage. East Lothian needs these jobs as the construction industry has really suffered locally during the recession.”
On a tour of the station, Fiona and Iain met East Lothian resident Tony Harris who has worked at the station for 22 years he added:
“Many of the workers here started out as apprentices and have built up invaluable experience and skills over the years. It is not only workers at the plant who would be affected but local workmen, delivery drivers and the local businesses would stand to lose their livelihoods if the plant was to close.”
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