These images are a personal comment on the state of the UK power industry. The project considers two examples of missed opportunities to put to put clean electricity production at the top of our national agenda from 2022. I am sharing my concern that the government’s claims to be climate leaders are being overshadowed by news of an unprecedented relaxation of previously agreed environmental targets.
My photographs focus on the areas of land surrounding two, soon-to-be-demolished coal-fired power stations in the Midlands : Ratcliffe-on-Soar in Nottinghamshire and West Burton A in Lincolnshire, both recently reprieved from closure, possibly until 2024. Ratcliffe will then be replaced by a 300 -hectare industrial park, government-subsidised via a Freeport, with a central power plant, producing electricity fuelled by the incineration of household waste, interestingly, classed as ‘renewable’ energy.
I am sad to learn that planners have backed the proposals at Ratcliffe, which is likely to produce as much or more Co2 as the original coal-fired power station. My intention is to show the areas most affected by various forms of pollution and other toxins from these two brownfield sites. The site at West Burton is lined up to house the world’s first prototype nuclear fusion reactor, predicted to be fully operational in 40 to 50 years time.
Creating this work has raised many more questions than it has produced answers, not least about the rhetoric used by the powers-that-be in the name of progress.
Anne Mason 2022