Council delegation to address Westminster committee on implications of Kilroot Power Station closure

Tuesday 6 March 2018

A delegation from Mid and East Antrim Borough Council will travel to Westminster next week to give evidence to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee on the regional implications of Kilroot Power Station’s closure.

Stock image of Westminster

The Borough’s Mayor Councillor Paul Reid, Council Chief Executive Anne Donaghy, Council’s Head of Policy, Research and External Affairs, Louise Kennedy, along with Sammy Wilson MP, have been invited to give evidence to the committee following January’s announcement by the plant’s operator, AES.

The Committee is currently investigating the impact of the plant’s closure and an expected reduction in capacity at Ballylumford, on Northern Ireland’s power supply.

Council’s representatives will also highlight major concerns around the loss of jobs and substantial shortfall in rates income locally should Kilroot shut its gates permanently later this year.

Councillor Reid said: “News of the impending closure of Kilroot Power Station and reduction in output at Ballylumford have wide-reaching implications for the whole of Northern Ireland.

“The prospect of Kilroot Power Station's winding down and reduction at the Ballylumford site is a bitter blow for the many workers and families affected, as well as all of the citizens of Mid and East Antrim and Northern Ireland.

"I share the concerns of our local senior political representatives regarding the security of the supply of electricity across Northern Ireland in the wake of the announcement and we will relay those fears at Westminster.

"The future of Kilroot and Ballylumford was at the top of the agenda during meetings we had with key Westminster contacts in London in recent months, including local MPs Ian Paisley and Sammy Wilson, and we are committed to exploring any and all opportunities if there is even the slightest chance of an eleventh-hour reprieve.

“At a regional level, it is vital that Northern Ireland’s power supplies are safeguarded and that we do not run the risk of an energy deficit or higher energy prices.

“A secure energy supply is absolutely critical to our ability to secure investment in Mid and East Antrim and Northern Ireland.”

Cllr Reid said Council has provided the Committee with written evidence on a series of matters in wake of the Kilroot announcement.

They include queries around the Integrated Single Energy Market, broader implications of the closure of Kilroot and any obstacles to the construction of the North-South generator.

Council also provided insight into the impact of the ongoing political stalemate at Stormont.

Ms Donaghy said: “We welcome this opportunity to ensure Mid and East Antrim’s voice is heard at the heart of Government.

“I wish to reassure the community that the Council will be working with a number of parties to assess and respond to the impact of the loss of the vital contract by AES.

“We have been in contact with the Department of Finance to assess the financial impact of the Kilroot closure.

“We know the loss from Council’s non-domestic rates income will be £1.3million this year and £2million thereafter.

“Thanks to the prudent financial management of Council, we have contingency measures in place and are working to minimise any impact on both domestic and non-domestic ratepayers.”

The Council delegation will give evidence to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee on Wednesday 14 March 2018.