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Energy giant RWE npower has announced that two power stations which are more than 40 years old will close next March under EU rules to reduce pollution.
Coal-fired Didcot A power station in Oxfordshire and the oil-fired Fawley plant in Hampshire will be shut down to comply with the EU Large Combustion Plant Directive, aimed at cutting emissions of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and dust.
The closures will take place at the end of March 2013, when the power stations will have used up their permitted hours of operation before they must shut down, the energy company said.
RWE npower's chief executive Volker Beckers said:
''Both of these stations were built more than 40 years ago and have been the unsung heroes of our economy ever since, helping to keep the lights on and Britain working 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
''These closures, driven by Government policy, reflect the changing shape of power generation in the UK with modern, low carbon power generation replacing older, less efficient power stations.''
Mr Beckers said RWE npower had invested more than £3 billion in the UK in the past three years and now operated the largest amount of renewables and gas-fired power stations in the country.
New developments include a gas-fired power station at Staythorpe, Nottinghamshire and another gas-fired plant in Pembroke.
But the company announced earlier this year that it was pulling out of a venture to build two new nuclear reactors at Wylfa in North Wales and Oldbury-on-Severn, Gloucestershire.