Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Wreath laid but hope not buried for Coryton

A WREATH made by a local florist was a symbol for local emotions as both former employees and local residents gathered at Corringham Town Centre to pledge support.

But local politicans have been insistent that the fight is far from over.

The leader of Thurrock Council, John Kent has written to Charles Hendry M.P. Minister of State at the Department for Energy and Climate Change.

His letter says:

“There is increasing concern and distress in the community I serve that the government is failing to explain its decision not to step in and help save the Petroplus refinery and the 850 jobs that exist there. I would appreciate the chance, with others, to put the case that is being made – and the questions being asked – directly to you.

As I understand it, a request for a meeting from the representatives of the employees, Unite the Union, has been refused by ministers. That leaves employees and the wider community without a proper explanation from the government for the decision not to act to save not only hundreds of jobs, but also an important part of national energy infrastructure.

You are aware that Coryton provides some 20% of the fuel needs of the south of England. There is genuine concern at what might happen to fuel supplies in the event of closure and a belief that the government should act to keep this key piece of national infrastructure open.

Time and again people have asked why the four, non profitable, Petroplus refineries on mainland Europe have been saved but the only profit-making refinery in the Petroplus group – Coryton – is set to close. While there is commercial interest in buying the refinery, it continues to be a puzzle to people here in South Essex why the government would not take every opportunity possible to prevent the closure.

People are confused as to why the British government appears to be blaming the European Union for their failure to act when government intervention in France has led to the refinery at Petit Couronne being successfully rescued. In short there is a widely held view that the government is failing to stand up for British jobs when their European partners are acting decisively to save their jobs and preserve their vital infrastructure.

I, therefore, ask if you will agree to an urgent meeting with representatives of the local community that will be affected by the closure of the refinery to explore these issues.

MEP Richard Howitt has applauded all those who took part in the rally this morning (Monday).

Mr Howitt said: The rally to show public support for the refinery organised by the Unite trade union, took place as the process of shutting down the refinery has already begun following the announcement from bankruptcy administrators of their failure to find a new buyer.

Richard Howitt MEP said: “It’s everyone’s job that’s at stake if nearly a thousand workers and their
families lose their livelihoods, in an area where businesses have been suffering more than most.

“The Government accepts that the Thames Gateway is nationally important for economic regeneration, so must not stand by while one of its most important businesses in one of the most crucial areas goes under.

“Government representatives repeatedly told us that best efforts were being made to find a new buyer, but today’s protest shows that today no-one believes they were telling the truth.”


  1. Letting this plant go will prove to be an unmitigated disaster when the economy picks up. Building a modern plant will cost billions and undoubtedly then put one or two of the other refineries out of production. No wreaths yet. Moth ball maybe the plant but do not demolish.


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