FIDDLER'S Ferry power station which has been in operation for nearly 50 years has closed.

The coal-fired power station in Cuerdley shut down on Monday, nine months after the closure was announced by energy company SSE.

The facility, which became fully operational in 1973, produced enough electricity to power around two million homes.

SSE said the closure comes five years ahead of the UK Government's target to end coal-fired electricity generation.

It follows the closure of the company's coal-fired Ferrybridge C station in West Yorkshire in 2016.

Stephen Wheeler, managing director of SSE Thermal, said: "The closure of Fiddler's Ferry Power Station is a landmark moment for SSE, and the wider energy industry, as we transition to a net-zero emissions future.

"It's made a huge contribution to the local area, but it's the right thing to do as the UK continues to move to cleaner ways of producing energy and take action on climate change.

"SSE is now the UK's leading generator of renewable energy and we have committed to trebling our output by 2030.

"We will back up this renewable generation with super-efficient gas-fired plants, which we are also looking to decarbonise through emerging carbon capture and hydrogen technology."

As previously reported in the Warrington Guardian, demolition of the site could take two years with work set to start in May.

The land is designated for employment use but Warrington South MP Andy Carter wants it handed over for housing to meet the demands of the local plan.

Other suggestions for the future of the land include a site producing other forms of energy, a railway line to help with the HS3 project or even a home for the new Warrington Hospital.