Cumbrian gas power plant plans refused for second time

A Cumbrian council has refused plans for a gas-fired power plant for a second time this year, against a recommendation for approval from planners.

Old Hutton, Cumbria (pic: Gary Lawrenson via Geograph)
Old Hutton, Cumbria (pic: Gary Lawrenson via Geograph)

In January, South Lakeland District Council refused energy firm Statera’s plan to build the 49MW gas plant and battery storage facility on agricultural land next to the existing Old Hutton substation near Kendal.

Planners had recommended that the plans be refused because the applicant had "failed to provide details of an adequate access for both developments and their ancillary infrastructure and failed to provide details of an adequate surface water management scheme".

Statera then submitted revised plans for the scheme, dropping the proposed battery storage facility.

A planning report on the new application, which recommended approval, said that "previous issues of drainage and flooding in the locality have been addressed by the revised design layout and the use of an entire site sustainable urban drainage scheme".

It concluded that there is "sufficient justification for the development to be located in open countryside … given that scale and location of the proposal would not cause unacceptable landscape harm in either in close and more distant views".

But the council went on to refuse the plans. Planning has asked the local authority for detail on its reasons for refusal but it had yet to respond at time of publication.

Local press reports suggest that concerns were raised about air quality and landscape impacts.

The planning report said that around 460 representations had been received on the application, with the "substantial body … considered to be of objection".

Statera was asked for comment but it had yet to respond at time of publication. 

In September, business secretary Greg Clark granted a development consent order for a gas-fired power station on the site of an existing coal-fired plant at Eggborough in North Yorkshire, after concluding that there was a "compelling case" for the plant.

In May, development consent applications were submitted to the Planning Inspectorate to replace two coal-fired power units at the Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire with gas-fired units.

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