Alex blasts Government for lack of industrial support as CF Fertilisers announces permanent closure of its ammonia plant

Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham has denounced the Conservative Government for abandoning “any pretence at an industrial strategy” following news that CF Fertilisers will permanently shut down its ammonia plant at Haverton Hill, with thirty-eight jobs lost as a result.

The decision was taken by CF Fertilisers who claim that producing ammonia at Billingham will not be cost-competitive for the long-term. It intends to continue producing ammonium nitrate using imported ammonia.

The plant was closed down on a temporary basis in August 2022 following a series of shut-downs, sparking fears of a potential shortage of CO2 – a by-product of the production which is widely used in the food and drink industry.

Alex, who has been working with the industry to find a sustainable way forward said:

“An abject lack of action and urgency to support energy intensive industries from the Conservative Government has led to today’s announcement from CF Fertilisers.

“Time and again, long before the temporary closure of the ammonia plant last year and the plant shut-downs before that, I have been calling on Ministers to get their act together and support industries like CF Fertilisers. They have stuck their heads in the sand, prevaricated and passed the buck instead of taking action to address the needs of this industry. Any pretence at an industrial strategy has been abandoned by Ministers who simply couldn’t care less, and now good local jobs are at risk as a result.

“I’m also disappointed CF bosses have taken this decision. Jobs are being sacrificed for short-term cost-effectiveness and it feels like the “temporary closure” last year was a way to soften the blow of a permanent one down the line. I hope employees can be redeployed in the organisation and my office is on hand to work them and Unite where necessary.”