On the 4th October 2017, DLP Planning Limited secured planning permission on behalf of our client, Clearstone Energy for a gas powered electricity generator and related infrastructure on land at Worset Lane, Hartlepool.
The development proposals are for a purpose built structure containing 11 gas engine generation sets that will generate approximately 49.5MW. This building has been designed to visually suit an agricultural setting with robust landscaping.
The Climate Change Act 2008 sets out a duty for the Secretary of State to ensure that the net UK carbon account for the year 2050 is at least 80% lower than the 1990 baseline. The Energy Act 2013 puts in place measures to attract the £110 billion investment which is needed to replace current generating capacity and upgrade the grid by 2020, and to cope with a rising demand for electricity.
Planning is embedded within our transition to a low carbon economy. In the face of climate change, greater energy security and fuel poverty, we need a robust strategy which demonstrates leadership and inspires confidence. Technology needs to be framed as a strategic, long term investment where practical solutions can be made in the interim. Gas powered electricity generators in suitable locations are an important part of this transition. The ability to deliver a modest form of low carbon energy is a material consideration that needs to be attributed significant weight in the planning balance.
Whilst functional requirements to connect to the network dictate siting, a number of other factors were considered as part of the initial scoping process including national and local planning policy, visual amenity, landscape character and proximity to sensitive uses. Those sites which are considered to have planning merit are then taken forward to a pre-application enquiry with the Local Planning Authority to explore if these development proposals could be positively promoted through the planning process.
These development proposals will support existing infrastructure with an energy source which can add capacity and tolerance to the network at times of spikes in use or drop in renewable resources. Development would not be viewed in isolation, but rather as additional infrastructure which is similar in character, form and operation to existing utilities off Worset Lane. The very nature of the development proposals is to underpin investment in the local economy and increase sustainable energy production.