Dartford’s storied Littlebrook power station is to close in March next year, it has been announced.

The oil-fired station and its striking chimney will be redundant from March 31, 2015 after nearly 40 years generating electricity for London and the surrounding areas.

The writing has been on the wall for the 1,140 MW facility since 2008 when a piece of European environmental legislation came into force.

The Large Combustion Plant Directive meant all UK power stations which couldn’t meet new emissions limits must close by 2015 at the latest.

Owner RWE has now announced its decision to close Littlebrook in March next year when the station’s 70 employees will have to be moved on.

Dartford MP Gareth Johnson said: "Littlebrook power station is an iconic sight in Dartford and part of our local heritage.

"I’ll always remember when growing up in the town how it helped to defeat Arthur Scargill and the miners’ strike by producing enormous amounts of electricity using oil rather than coal.

"I’m pleased the power station will remain open for the production of energy through gas but this announcement is undoubtedly the end of an era."

Construction started on Littlebrook in 1976 and it holds the record for the largest electricity production output of any 2,000 MW station in the UK within any one year.

This record generation came in the 1980s during periods of exceptional demand to pick up the slack from coal-fired stations affected by the miners’ strike.

RWE says plans have long been in place to accommodate potential job losses, with the hope most of those affected will find jobs elsewhere within the company.

It claims it makes sense to close the facility at the end of winter when demand for energy falls off. Roger Miesen from RWE said: "This is a sad but not unexpected day.

"I’d like to pay tribute to this station and the people that have worked here helping to keep the lights on across London for so many years."

The three open-cycle gas turbines at Littlebrook site, each capable of generating 35 MW, will continue to operate.

Is your job at risk at Littlebrook? Call us on 01689 885702 or e-mail tim.macfarlan@london.newsquest.co.uk