Coal-fired Power Stations — [Joan Ryan in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:10 pm on 27th April 2016.

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Photo of Christopher Pincher Christopher Pincher Conservative, Tamworth 3:10 pm, 27th April 2016

It is a great pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Ms Ryan. I would like to make two or three points in response to the very fine speech made by my hon. Friend Amanda Milling. First, I congratulate her on securing this important debate and on focusing her remarks on Rugeley B power station. It is no surprise that she has been supported by our hon. Friends the Members for Stafford (Jeremy Lefroy) and for Burton (Andrew Griffiths), and has had very vocal support from my hon. Friend Michael Fabricant and me, because we all recognise Rugeley’s importance to our local economy.

I know Rugeley and the power station well. In the days before satellite navigation, it provided a handy navigation device for those trying to find their way toward Rugeley. More seriously and importantly, it provided many jobs for local people, including my constituents in Tamworth. I join my hon. Friend the Member for Cannock Chase in her determination to hold a jobs fair to help those people who may lose their jobs in finding new, gainful employment. In our part of Staffordshire, we are lucky that new jobs are being created to fill the gap that may be left by the closure of Rugeley B.

My hon. Friend mentioned the importance of housing and the development of housing on brownfield sites. I agree with that. In our part of the west midlands we need to build some 88,000 new homes to cater for growing demand, and Rugeley B could provide part of the solution. I commend that thought to the Minister. She also mentioned the importance of local infrastructure and roads such as the M6, the M6 toll road and the A50. One road she did not mention that I think is important to the local infrastructure—my hon. Friend the Minister will know this all too well—is the A5, which runs through Leicestershire and Warwickshire into Staffordshire and up to Cannock. Part of the A5 is not dualled. If we are to build new homes on the Rugeley power station site, we need to make sure we have the infrastructure to cater for those new homes.

I hope the Minister will use all his artistry and invention to prevail on our right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport to include in the next road investment strategy the development of the A5. That would help not only Rugeley but my constituents in Wall; Highways England could fix the problem it created at Wall Island. Also, residents would be able to get more effectively on to the A5 and up to Rugeley to benefit from the retail park that may be developed there.

I will conclude as I began: by congratulating my hon. Friend the Member for Cannock Chase on securing this debate. She spoke passionately and eloquently, and I trust the Minister will listen to her.