Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Alcan Loss Would Be a Huge Blow; HUNDREDS of Workers' Jobs at the Alcan Plant in Northumberland Are under Threat Because of European Energy Rules. DAVE BLACK Reports on the Potential Devastation

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Alcan Loss Would Be a Huge Blow; HUNDREDS of Workers' Jobs at the Alcan Plant in Northumberland Are under Threat Because of European Energy Rules. DAVE BLACK Reports on the Potential Devastation

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVE BLACK

THE towering chimneys and giant coal-fired power station of the Alcan aluminium complex have been iconic landmarks on the Northumberland skyline for almost four decades.

Since the early 1970s they have been potent symbols of the 650 jobs provided by the Lynemouth plant and the vital role it plays in the economic fortunes of the area.

Along with Blyth Power Station and Ellington Colliery, Alcan was once one of the three cornerstones of the economy in the industrial powerhouse of south east Northumberland.

The other two are now gone, meaning the latest potential threat to Alcan's future has sent fresh shockwaves reverberating around the area.

Community leaders and local residents said the loss of the plant would be a doomsday scenario, impacting not only on the seaside village of Lynemouth itself but on nearby communities such as Ellington, Ashington, Newbiggin and Blyth - and further afield. Employees at Alcan come from a wide area, and its quality jobs and good wages mean its demise would have a major ripple effect on the North East economy as a whole.

The European Court of Justice has ruled the plant must cut emissions from its coal-fired power station after a six-year legal battle.

The firm now needs to find at least pounds 200m to upgrade the site or the European Commission will step in and orders closure.

Hopes rest on pounds 1bn green energy plans to trap harmful gases and store them in the North Sea.

Cath Davidson, 77, who chairs the CELL regeneration partnership covering Cresswell, Ellington, Lynemouth and Linton, has looked out from her Lynemouth bungalow on to the Alcan power station for decades. She says local people have always been prepared to put up with the environmental consequences of coal mining and emissions from the two power stations because of the benefits from the jobs they brought. …

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