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THORESBY LATEST: MP and councillors’ shock and anger at possible pit closure

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The region has reacted with shock and anger to news that Thoresby Colliery looks set to close next year.

Last week UK Coal finally admitted it was facing serious financial problems, despite having denied their predicament to the Chad a month earlier.

And while union officials battle to salvage the pit, and a future for the 600 workers, there has been no shortage of opinion.

Nottinghamshire County Council leader, Coun Alan Rhodes is the latest to express his concern.

He says that as well as the 600 jobs, it will have far-reaching effects for the local economy, hitting suppliers and local businesses.

He said: “UK Coal is still a large employer in Nottinghamshire. Closing Thoresby Colliery would have a devastating impact on nearby communities, where the unemployment rate and levels of deprivation are already above the national average.

“We are seeking urgent talks with partners in Government, the Local Enterprise Partnership and UK Coal to secure the immediate future of Thoresby Colliery and discuss the longer term future. I welcome the Prime Minister’s promise that the Government will do all it can to save UK Coal and keep Thoresby open.

“Coal still plays an important part in the UK’s energy mix. It would be crazy to damage the UK and Nottinghamshire economy by halting production of the plentiful stocks still available at Thoresby, in favour of increasing imports from elsewhere in the world.

“It is essential that we look further ahead too. While we must exhaust all the options to try and keep Thoresby open, if there is then no option other than closure, we will be asking the Government to provide assistance to all the partners for the retraining of employees, the creation of equivalent quality jobs and the successful redevelopment of the site.”

John Peck, Edinwstowe and Nottinghamshire county councillor

“I’m shocked and saddened by the announcement. I visited only a few weeks ago and I was confident there was five or six years left of mining.

“We knew it would happen some time but assumed it would close when the coal ran out.

“I understand the commercial reasons, with the price of coal at the moment and the strength of the pound, but I do think the Government needs to do something to extend the life of the pit because 40 per cent of our energy comes from coal-powered stations.

“It seems crazy when we are sat on all this coal.

“I’m just stumped by the decision, it’s a big employer, not just for Edwinstowe, there are workers from all over the area, and it will have a significant impact.

“This has been the story of the industry in the last 30-odd years though, and it comes shortly after the demolition of the old Thoresby Miners’ Welfare, so it’s another blow for the village of Edwinstowe.”

Tony Egginton, mayor of Mansfield.

“It seems sad that it had coincided with the anniversary of the miners’ strike, and it is a massive blow.

“There are a lot of memories at Thoresby, good and bad, but it’s the last of a dying breed.

“When you look at the alternative energy sources you would think there would economies of scales to keep it open.

“With the Harworth situation and workers transferring over to Thoresby it gave the impression it would prolong the business.

“We all appreciate that it wouldn’t last forever but didn’t think it could end like this.

“It mean so much to this area and that many jobs are not just a drop in the ocean.”

Mark Spencer , MP for Sherwood.

“Had the Government not stepped in when it did, the gates would have been closed weeks ago.

“This is very much a stay of execution, but I still think there’s an opportunity to move forward.

“The money is going into to keep this going for another 18 months. The challenge for UK Coal is to put the development in for the next coal face to secure those jobs, but they are saying now that they want to throw in the towel, which is disappointing.

“However, it gives us a window to look for the next investor.

“I don’t think we should rest from trying to find one, but it has to stack up economically.”

Alan Meale, MP for

Mansfield.

“It’s an absolute disgrace, and ridiculous economics to consider this.

“We need to be given time to get everyone around the table, including all the unions, to discuss this through and have time for reflection.

“The figures are very clear. To keep this open is will cost only a fraction of what it will cost to close it.

“It seems like there is an intent somewhere to not have a British coal industry, which is simply mad.

“There are masses amount of coal in the ground, and there needs to be a decision made and the willingness to mine it.

“It’s about time we stopped importing coal and we need MPs to come together regardless of political persuasion.”

 

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