THE demolition of Fiddlers Ferry power station will begin in May – but decommissioning work could take up to seven years.

With the major facility set to close on March 31, Warrington Borough Council said work to knock it down will begin before the summer.

It has been in discussions with site owner Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) about the future of the land, off Widnes Road.

But the Labour-run authority says it is too early to discuss the specific future use of the site and whether it could see green belt land elsewhere in the town, which has been earmarked for employment-related development, protected.

It said this is because it will ‘potentially require a major clean-up and reclamation’, with decommissioning/decontamination taking up to seven years to complete ‘based upon experience elsewhere’.

“SSE, the owners of Fiddlers Ferry, have confirmed the power station will close on March 31, 2020 (unless there is direct Government direction not to),” said a council spokesman.

“The contract with National Grid expires on March 31, 2020. Demolition and decommissioning will commence in May 2020.

“SSE will be forwarding a timeline plan to the council in due course.

“The council discussed its local plan position and that the site would be designated as an ’employment site’.

“As owners of the site, SSE are comfortable with this but also wish in the medium term to keep ‘all options open’.”

Warrington South MP Andy Carter has reacted to the news.

The Conservative politician said: “Regenerating brownfield sites is a priority for Government, I want to ensure we maximise the opportunity that this site presents so that we can avoid using green belt wherever possible in our town.

“With an increase in available brownfield land, the local plan needs careful reconfiguration.”

Last year, it was confirmed that the council does not consider that residential development would be appropriate for the land.