Power stations and their imposing cooling towers are an iconic feature of the Trent Vale landscape.

West Burton Power Station at dusk. Photograph: Brian HedleyCows grazing close to cooling towers. Photograph: Penny Fillingham

Power stations have a distinctive and iconic presence all along the Vale skyline.

Love them or hate them, they provide a visual backdrop to the landscape and provide vital employment to local communities. There are three fuctioning power stations in the Trent Vale at Staythorpe, Cottam and West Burton, as well as the now obsolete power station at High Marnham whose cooling towers still dominate the landscape.

Staythorpe Power Station

Staythorpe is a gas-fired power station on the outskirts of Newark. It began full commercial operation in November 2010.

West Burton

West Burton power station is a pair of power stations located between Sturton le Steeple and Bole. One is a coal-fired power station, which was commissioned in 1968, and the second is a combined cycle gas turbine power station, due to be commissioned in 2011. Both stations are owned and operated by EDF Energy.

Cottam Power Stations

This pair of power stations close to the village of Rampton is the most northerly of Trent Vale's power stations. The largest of the two is a coal-fired power station which was commissioned in 1969 and is now owned by EDF Energy. The other is Cottam Development Centre which is a combined gas turbine plant commissioned in 1999 and is now owned by E.ON.