Development company Miller Turner today secured planning permission for its planned £200 million energy recovery facility in Lancashire.
Councillors on Lancashire County Council’s Planning Committee approved Longridge Road Energy Centre (LREC), to be located immediately off junction 31A of the M6 motorway on the Red Scar Industrial Estate, east of Preston. The decision follows a similar approval in principle from Preston City Council’s planning committee over the summer.
LREC will have the capacity to process up to 395,000 tonnes of residual waste – the waste left over from households and businesses after recycling has taken place – every year and use it as a fuel to generate low carbon energy. The energy produced will be sufficient to power the equivalent of up to 108,000 homes or every home in the city of Preston.
LREC has a number of key advantages over other energy recovery facilities in the U.K.. The location positions LREC in the midst of the key population centres in Lancashire and the surrounding area, minimising the distance required for waste transportation.
Its location close to population centres also brings other benefits. LREC has been carefully located and designed to boost the growth of the local economy and to create jobs for local people. The plant is designed to provide electricity directly to commercial and industrial companies in the locality. LREC is the only proposed plant for Lancashire to offer this benefit.
By supplying electricity directly to the companies, power can be provided securely and at lower cost, helping to boost the competitiveness of connected businesses. This is expected to help secure existing local jobs but also strengthen the attraction of the area to companies looking for a new location to set up and create new jobs.
The facility itself is expected to create 40 permanent skilled and semi-skilled jobs to operate and maintain the plant and up to 500 jobs during the construction period.
Any surplus energy not sold directly to local companies will be distributed via the public electricity grid. The location of LREC on the edge of Preston and close to proposed new housing sites also maximises the potential opportunity to connect LREC to any future municipal district heating system designed to heat local homes.
Crucially, LREC will divert residual waste away from being buried in landfill. By using this waste as a fuel to generate electricity, LREC will turn a problem into an opportunity, while also eliminating harmful methane emissions, a greenhouse gas many times more damaging to the environment than CO2.
With Lancashire alone currently sending the majority of its residual waste to landfill each year, LREC has the potential to radically reduce this. In so doing, the operation of LREC is expected to save a net figure of 77,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, equivalent to taking 28,500 cars off the roads each year.
Commenting on the approval of the planning application, Gregory Ewing, Chief Executive Officer for Miller Turner, said: “We are naturally pleased that our hard work, experience and track record of successfully delivering sustainable energy projects has been recognised with this approval. We now look forward to commencing construction of the project within the next six to twelve months.”
“We are confident that LREC will offer significant benefits to Preston and Lancashire and that it will operate without issue. We have worked hard to engage with the local community, holding a number of public consultation events as well as directly contacting well over 5,000 homes and businesses.”
“We want to continue this and be a good neighbour to the community. We plan to set up a community liaison group to operate throughout the construction and operation of LREC, offer an annual £60,000 community fund for local projects, support local people to apply for the jobs and apprenticeships created as well as opening a visitor centre for the facility.”