AN energy plant planned for Lostock Gralam has taken another step towards being built, almost six years on from gaining planning assent.

Tata Chemicals Europe (TCE) has now discharged all planning conditions from approval in 2012, meaning its 'Lostock Sustainable Energy Plant' may proceed as proposed.

Under initial planning consent, the plant would recover energy from burning 600,000 tonnes of non-recyclable waste, producing electricity for the National Grid to consistently power around 125,000 homes.

The company has now made a variation application to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to increase the power output from 60 MW to up to 90.

A Tata spokesman said: "The variation application does not seek any changes to the approved design and layout and does not affect the previously reported environmental impacts.

"The increase in power output is possible due to the identification of more efficient equipment that is now available, and by changes to the fuel composition as a result of changes in the recycling rules in the intervening years since planning consent was granted."

Construction is set to take three years. Once operational, the process would also provide steam for Tata's chemical operations.

Fraser Ramsay, TCE strategic projects leader, said: “The application has been submitted to enable the Sustainable Energy Plant to deliver greater electricity generation and contribute to urgently needed baseload national generating capacity.”