More than 700 construction workers have had their jobs suspended after work was stopped on a £300m energy-from-waste plant on Teesside.
Workers at the Air Products Tees Valley 2 site in Port Clarence spoke of “complete shock”, claiming they were given no prior warning of the suspension of work.
The company said the length of the suspension was “yet to be determined” and it would now work with contractors to “wind down construction activity in a controlled way”.
Subcontractors working on the site include Balfour Beatty Engineering Services, Cape Engineering Solutions and Imtech.
Air Products is a global gas and chemicals company that only recently entered the UK EfW market.
In 2011, Air Products was granted permission by Stockton-on-Tees borough council to build the Tees Valley 1 EfW plant.
The company then started work on a second plant, TV2, in 2014 with both plants being built in parallel.
With construction nearly complete, the TV1 plant was expected to be fully operational early next year.
However, the firm now say that problems with the technology that converts the waste to energy at the TV1 plant has led to delays and it making the decision to pause construction work on the TV2 site until these issues are resolved.
In a statement, the company said: “As with many groundbreaking projects, improvements are identified as construction advances and new solutions put in place.
“This is the case for our first renewable energy facility currently being built [TV1].
“The learnings we are making here will be applicable to our second plant.
“By deferring construction we will be able to ensure any modifications are applied to TV2 in a cost-effective way when activity is resumed.”
Foster and Wheeler currently holds the EPC contract for the TV1 site.
Construction of the first site will continue and is scheduled for completion in 2016, but the company said it is likely to be delayed.
GMB regional officer for construction Michael Blench told Construction News: “This is a complete and absolute shock to all of us up here, there was no prior warning at all.
“This is yet another crushing blow for the workers on Teesside.
“Seven weeks away from Christmas, 700 workers are told they are no longer required.”