New gas-powered plant set for green light

An aerial view of Heysham Port.
An aerial view of Heysham Port.
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A new power station will 
be built as part of plans to create a “Heysham Gateway” energy park.

The proposed development off Middleton Road is a 1,300sqm, 14m-high industrial building which will house five gas engines, capable of producing 47.5Mw of electricity.

If councillors give it the go-ahead at a planning meeting on March 2, Middleton Clean Energy Plant will employ 18 permanent staff once built.

Council officers have recommended the plans for approval, subject to a referral back to Natural England, which has asked for further information about details on air quality, drainage, water, protected species, and the power station’s effect on the nearby natural environment.

The report said that fuel will be supplied from an existing underground natural gas pipeline and emissions from the engines will be vented from a 35m high flue stack.

The proposal, by Fleetwood businessman David Evans, follows Lancaster City Council’s announcement that it plans to build a 5Mw solar farm at the former Shell/ICI site near Middleton village.

Four wind turbines have also appeared on the horizon recently as part of the Heysham South Wind Farm.

A planning report for the gas fired power station sets out how this part of the district is identified in the emerging Local Plan as Heysham Gateway - “an area where opportunities will be developed to enhance economic activity associated with the energy industry and the strategic importance of the Port of Heysham.”

The power station is designed to provide on demand additional capacity at times when wind power is delivering less and demand is high.

Only three neighbour representations have been made to Lancaster City Council, two in support citing the positives of “clean gas powered electricity”, and a third with concerns about access.

The site to the north - Tradebe Solvent Recycling - is a designated Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) site. The main access for emergency service vehicles is via Middleton Lane, but the prevailing wind direction means that this route is unsafe.

Secondary and tertiary routes off Main Avenue are unavailable due to flytipping and the presence of protected species. Recently the city council, county council, police, Lancashire Fire & Rescue Service, NW Ambulance Service and Tradebe amongst others have been trying to resolve these issues and reinstate the secondary access route across land being proposed for the current application.