'Level of action at collapsed Didcot power station not enough'

RELATIVES of two missing men in the Didcot collapse are treated as an annoyance by the power station’s owners, Rotherham’s MP said this week.

Sarah Champion travelled to the recovery site on Wednesday and said: “I’m appalled. The families are not getting the support and respect they deserve.”

Eight weeks have passed since the boiler house at the power station collapsed during demolition work on February 23.

Ken Cresswell (57) and John Shaw (61) are still missing, along with colleague Chistopher Huxtable (34) from Swansea.

It took nearly a month for the recovery operation to start at the Oxfordshire site, owned by RWE (npower).

Ms Champion said: “The level of action is just not good enough when you have three men buried on this building site.

“I was genuinely shocked today at the way the grieving families were treated by RWE (npower). Rather than apologies and offers of support, it was as if the families were seen as an annoyance.

“I fully appreciate the complexities of the recovery, but fail to understand why that means RWE can’t act in a respectful and compassionate way towards the families.”

She added: “They are treating it as a business problem, it was very upsetting to be there and see people being treated in that way.

“I left the meeting furious, so I can’t imagine how the families must feel. It’s disgusting and immoral.”

Also at the site this week were the families, representatives from the Health and Safety Executive and police and rescue services. 

“It was a sobering moment to visit the site where the men are trapped,” said Ms Champion. “The scale of the damage is overwhelming. 

t3“I have sought further assurances that the recovery will continue unabated until the men are returned to their loved ones and that the families will continue to be kept informed of any developments.”

Thames Valley Police said about 20,000 tonnes of material remain at the site. A spokesman added: “The absolute priority of the multi-agency response to this incident remains the recovery of the missing men so they can be returned to their families.

“These debris removal works are ongoing seven days a week, from dawn to dusk.

“Whilst to date everything is progressing to plan, due to the complex nature of the collapse the recovery phase will still take some time.”

An RWE (npower) spokewoman said: “We are deeply aware that the ongoing recovery to find the missing men must be extremely painful for all the families.

“That’s why our contractors are working seven days a week, 12 hours a day, to ensure this is done as quickly as possible.”