A trade union has warned that the UK's energy capacity is facing further pressure after industry giant SSE announced the closure of a major coal fired power station.

The Perth-based firm said it is considering closure at the loss-making Fiddler’s Ferry plant in Cheshire, which produces enough electricity to power two million homes.

More than 200 jobs are under threat if the closure, which follows controversy over Scottish Power’s decision to shut the Longannet coal fired power station in Fife, goes ahead.

Michael Macdonald, of the Prospect union, said: "Today's news means the loss of 220 highly-skilled jobs at the station and the equivalent number among local contractors. This will have a devastating impact on an area.

"It also exacerbates difficulties in keeping the lights on given the way the energy market is incentivised and the loss of Ferrybridge, Eggborough and Longannet in Scotland.

"This is yet more evidence of the need for a rapid rethink of UK energy policy. Capacity auction results so far have seen large thermal generation lose out. We are losing the jobs and key skills that we will need for future generation."

SSE said it is consulting with staff on the closure but a shutdown from April 1 was the likely outcome.

Managing director Paul Smith said: "The plant at the station is ageing, its method of generating electricity is being rendered out of date and it has been, and it expected to continue to be, loss-making."