Kingsnorth, in Kent, was to be the first of the four planned stations given permission by the secretary of state for the department for energy and climate change, Ed Miliband in April this year.

E.on blamed falling demand due to the recession and said the plant would not be needed until 2016.

Greenpeace executive director, John Sauven, said: “This is extremely good news for the climate and in a stroke significantly reduces the chances of an unabated Kingsnorth plant ever being built.

“The case for new coal is crumbling, with even E.ON now accepting it’s not currently economic to build new plants, the huge diverse coalition of people who have campaigned against Kingsnorth because of the threat it posed to the climate should take heart that emissions from new coal are now even less likely in Britain.

“Ed Miliband now has a golden opportunity to rule out all emissions from new coal as a sign of Britain’s leadership before the key Copenhagen climate meeting, wth E.ON’s announcement he’s now got an open goal.”

Kingsnorth is currently a 1940MW dual-fired power station, meaning that each of its four main units are capable of using both coal and oil.

In October 2006 E.on originally announced plans to build two new ‘cleaner’ coal units at Kingsnorth.

Luke Walsh

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