ELECTRICAL elements of a £460m energy from waste plant in Lostock Gralam have been granted planning permission.

The proposed substation, electrical room, switchgears, water purification plant (WPP) tank farm and six car parking spaces will serve the Lostock Sustainable Energy Plant.

A planning statement submitted to Cheshire West and Chester Council had explained that the location of the substation and associated infrastructure had yet to be decided almost 10 years ago when initial plans were submitted and subsequently approved on appeal.

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The substation and WPP tank farm have now been allocated to the north west and north east corners of the development, respectively, and given the green light.

The statement said: “The approved scheme included … a ‘transformer’, which formed part of the infrastructure that would feed the power generated by LSEP to the grid at 132kV.

“The ‘transformer’, now more fully described as the Distribution Network Operator (DNO) substation (and associated infrastructure) … design requirements are now known and are the subject of this planning application.”

Northwich Guardian:

The substation and associated infrastructure (outlined red) within the LSEP site

Approving the plans, CWAC added that it, as the local planning authority, had ‘sought to work with the applicant in a positive and proactive way to secure a development that will improve the economic, social and environmental conditions of the area’.

The LSEP, set to be operational in 2023 in place of the old coal-fired Tata power station, secured funding through a Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) and FCC Environment Group joint venture in March 2019.

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It will burn 600,000 tonnes of pre-treated waste which would have otherwise gone to landfill, offsetting more than 200,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year with an increased output of 90MW approved by the Secretary of State for Energy in July.

Northwich Guardian:

The water purification plant tank farm (outlined red) within the LSEP site

The increased output will come as a result of more efficient equipment, rather than an increase in waste or HGV movements.

The LSEP development includes a 50m tall, 192m long main building, with twin 90m chimneys and surrounded by ancillary buildings, large scale silos, tanks and a 131m long, 22m high air cooled condenser unit.

The newly-approved elements are made up of one and two storey buildings, with the WPP tank farm 34m long and 14m wide to include up to 10, 13m tall tanks.

Northwich Guardian:

An artist's impression of the LSEP site

When funding was secured in March 2019, Tata Chemicals Europe’s Fraser Ramsay hailed it as ‘one of the largest investments at the Lostock site since soda ash manufacturing commenced in 1907’.

FCC chief executive Paul Taylor said: “This is a milestone for the waste treatment industry here in the UK which is facing a severe capacity gap for the treatment of unrecyclable residual waste.”