Ironbridge Power Station will close by the end of 2015 - or sooner

Ironbridge Power Station will close by the end of the year – and sooner if we get a particularly hot or cool summer.

Ironbridge Power Station will close by the end of 2015 - or sooner

Owners E.on today said the landmark will generate its last power at the end of 2015.

But it will also end its life if it passes the milestone of generating power for a total of 20,000 hours since January 1, 2008.

The station operates at a higher capacity if demand for electricity from the National Grid goes up.

Because of that, its closure could come sooner if demand rises for either air conditioning or heating.

E.on has placed a cloak of secrecy over the closure because it says it is commercially sensitive.

Roxanne Postle, of E.on, said: "We don't have any specific timings but Ironbridge will continue to operate and will close after generating for 20,000 hours or by the end of 2015, whichever comes first."

When asked what factors would lead to the power station generating 20,000 hours before the end of the year, she added: "Unfortunately, it's not as straightforward as that. There are a number of factors that determine which power stations, or indeed sources, are available to the market.

"With reference to Ironbridge, we wouldn't go into specifics regarding our expectations of running for commercial reasons."

Closure of the power station is required by the EU's Large Combustion Plant Directive.

There has so far been mixed reactions to the potential loss of the towers, with many saying they would miss such an iconic feature of the Ironbridge Gorge. For more than 80 years, Ironbridge Power Station has been the powerhouse of the county.

However, the future of the towers, which were built in the 1960s, remains unclear. Towers at other stations that have been decommissioned have either been blown up or demolished brick by brick.

A campaign was launched by Keith Newby last year in a bid to save the towers, which have a distinctive pink hue.

English Heritage previously said the towers could not be protected as they do not meet strict criteria, meaning there is a strong chance they will go. Mr Newby,a retired chartered engineer, from Eaton upon Tern, near Market Drayton, originally tried to get the towers listed in 2009. Members of the Gorge Parish Council have also unsuccessfully applied for listed building status for the towers in the past.

Bosses at power company E.on would not confirm whether the towers would be demolished following closure.

Councillor Carolyn Healy, who represents Ironbridge ward on The Gorge Parish Council, said: "I can see them from my house. I don't mind them – they are fine but it won't be a massive loss personally. I've heard that they would have to be knocked down anyway because of structural problems."

Janet French, of Janet and Sandra's Craft shop in the Maws Craft Centre in the Ironbridge Gorge, said: "The cooling towers really are quite a feature of the Ironbridge Gorge. I think they would be missed if they were knocked down. But you can't keep everything and sometimes the old has to go to be replaced by the new."

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