Air Products has denied reports that it is halting work on its primary gasification plant in Tees Valley – after trade union Unite raised concerns today that hundreds of jobs could be axed at the site.
Tees Valley 1 (TV1) is expected to treat up to 350,000 tonnes of waste per year via Hull city council’s contract with Impetus Waste Management, generating nearly 50MW of power for the National Grid.
The plant, which was initially due to enter operations in summer 2014, is continuing to undergo commissioning due to technical issues while ‘scaling up’ the plasma technology used to treat waste.
The delay has also seen the US-based firm suspend construction work on the adjacent TV2 plant, at the loss of 700 jobs (see letsrecycle.com story).
Unite has now voiced fears that hundreds of further construction jobs are on the line at the TV1 facility, following suggestions that the beleaguered plant is to be mothballed with a view to being sold.
In a statement released this afternoon, the union has accused Air Products of “going to ground” and adds it is seeking an “urgent meeting” with the firm’s senior executives for an update on the situation.
A Unite spokesman said: “If work stops at this site, hundreds of more highly skilled local jobs go with it. Teesside can ill-afford the collapse of yet another economically vital industry. It would be a hammer blow to the area and local economy, which is facing the loss of more than a thousand jobs from this firm alone in less than six months.”
But responding to the reports, Air Products has stated that there is “no change” in the status of the TV1 plant. The firm adds that while some contract workers have been released due to a period of decreased activity, all Air Products employees continue to work at the site.
A spokesman for the company said: “The TV1 site has not been mothballed. There has been no change in the TV1 status, nor the status with TV2; Air Products continues to work on starting up the TV1 facility, targeting the end of this year for commercial operation. Some contract workers have been released, but this is consistent with the type of work currently being carried out at TV1.
“As previously stated, we have identified learnings that are being implemented into the TV1 facility and we are currently in a period with higher engineering, design, and procurement activity and less activity in the field. We expect the activity in the field to again pick-up in a few months.”