The 33 years old power station, which has not generated power during the last two years, was originally due to be closed by the end of 2015.

The company said the plant will be shut down as it does not meet the stringent environmental requirements set by the European Union’s Large Combustion Plant Directive (LCPD).

E.ON UK chief executive Dr Tony Cocker said the firm will do everything it can to support and assist the 16 colleagues directly affected by this decision.

"Oil-fired Grain-A and our coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth are both set to close under LCPD rules but just next-door we have our brand-new super-efficient gas-fired combined heat and power station and, not far from the Kent coast, we’re a key partner in the ongoing development of the world’s largest offshore wind-farm, London Array," Cocker added.

"As an investor, we need a market framework which is efficient and straightforward and gives us the confidence to make investments that are right for our company, right for our customers and right for the UK."

E.ON employs around 12,000 people in the UK and over 79,000 worldwide. The group’s generation portfolio includes gas-, coal- and oil-fired power stations.