Ahead of its submission of an application for a Development Consent Order (DCO) to the Planning Inspectorate, Millbrook Power has shared its final plans for its power station project at Rookery South Pit with councillors from Central Bedfordshire and Bedford Borough Councils, and councillors representing the parish councils in the near vicinity of the site.
Millbrook Power (MPL) has made one significant change to the project since it last met the local authorities in November: MPL has chosen to underground the electrical cable connection for its power project, thereby avoiding the need to construct new overhead lines and new transmission towers. The decision to go underground (the gas pipeline connection will also be underground) will significantly reduce the visual impact of the project and has been taken after careful consideration of the views held by local councillors and local people, and MPL’s completion of its technical and environmental studies that have been carried out over the past 12 months.
Nick Johnson, MPL’s Project Manager said: “The local councillors welcomed our decision to go underground with the electrical connection; this follows our decision, last year, to reduce the height of the power station stacks after considering the results of technical studies. The councillors also acknowledged the measures that we will take to minimise other impacts of the power project. Our project is situated on land allocated for development but we have always been mindful of the views of local people, and fully appreciate the local environment and the heritage of the area.”
Jason Longhurst, Director of Regeneration at Central Bedfordshire Council said: “It has been very useful to have been engaged early in this important development and we’re pleased that Millbrook Power has provided changes to reduce the visual impact of the development.”
Millbrook Power intends to submit its application to the Planning Inspectorate before the end of March and there should then follow a six month period of examination during which time the local councils and other interested parties can express their views. Subject to the outcome of the Planning Inspectorate’s examination process and the Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change granting a Development Consent Order, the Millbrook Power project could enter commercial operation in 2019/2020.
Notes to editors:
- The underground electrical connection will export the electricity that is generated by the power plant via a new sub-station into the National Grid. The underground gas pipeline will deliver natural gas, the power station’s only fuel source, from the UK national gas transmission system to the power generation plant.
- The £200m MPL project was first announced in May 2014. Since then, MPL’s technical and environmental studies have considered a range of issues such as noise, air quality, visual impact, ecology and transport. In addition, MPL has publicised its plans via various channels, consulted the local councils in the area and a range of other interested parties and held two series of public exhibitions.
- Subject to planning and financing, construction of the project could start in 2017/2018 for a 2-3 year period. The plant (up to 299MW capacity) will only run at times when electricity demand is at its highest, mainly during the winter months, and on those occasions when there is intermittent output from renewable sources of energy, primarily wind and solar.
- The project would be a substantial and long-term investment in the area, seeing the creation of around 150 construction jobs, up to 15 permanent skilled jobs and potential business opportunities for local companies. MPL is consulting Central Bedfordshire and Bedford Borough Councils on ways to bring wider social and environmental benefits to the surrounding area.
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