Air Products scraps plans for Teesside renewable energy plant
Plans for the second phase of a renewable energy plant on Teesside have been scrapped.
Air Products temporarily halted work on the Tees Valley energy-from-waste project in November, resulting in 700 construction workers being laid off.
Now the firm has opted to pull out of the development completely, blaming technical problems and rising costs.
The site, at Port Clarence, near Hartlepool, still employs more than 150 office staff and contractors.
A company statement said the move would result in write-off of about £770m.
It added: "In previous public comments, Air Products' management has communicated the challenges with the Tees Valley projects.
"Testing and analysis... indicated that additional design and operational challenges would require significant time and cost to rectify.
"Consequently, the Board of Directors has decided that it is no longer in the best interest of the company and its shareholders to continue the Tees Valley projects."
The company said it planned to seek a buyer for the part-built facility.
US-based Air Products had said the plant would generate energy for about 100,000 homes by burning domestic and commercial waste which would otherwise have been sent to landfill.
Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, Tom Blenkinsop, described the news as "another blow for the Teesside economy".
He said: "The news that Air Products is to write off its Teesside energy-from-waste development is the latest part of the crisis that is sweeping the UK's industrial sector.
"I will be seeking assurances from Air Products that they are looking to find a sustainable, long-term buyer who can continue with this project and that they are not just looking to scrap the whole plant, which is nearly complete."
Stockton North Labour MP Alex Cunningham added: "This is yet more devastating news for Teesside coming on the tail of thousands of other lost jobs in the area in steel, construction, metal and related industries in recent months.
"People on Teesside need to know whether the incomplete plants have a future, if they will be sold or there is some other options for them.
"I will also be raising the issue in Parliament when it returns next week."