The site concerned is around nine acres, in the region's chemical industry heartland. Credit: planning documents

Billingham energy project set for green light

Irish renewables company Solar 21 is seeking to build on an extant planning permission, delivering a 30MW energy recovery facility at Seal Sands.

In April 2013 Stockton-on-Tees Council gave consent for a 24MW energy facility including gasification technology, associated infrastructure for materials handling and storage, power generation, power export, fuel receipt and other infrastructure

With the demolition required for that project started in 2016, the local authority considers the consent to have been implemented and thus extant.

Working through its Teesside Green Energy Park subsidiary, the applicant wants to build a 30MW energy recovery facility, which would be designed as Combined Heat & Power-ready. The intention is still to deliver on the same nine-acre site.

Planner MJCA is representing Solar21.

Planning officers at Stockton recommend that committee gives a minded to approve verdict at its meeting on 10 April. The application can be viewed on the council’s planning portal at 22/1525/EIS.

The scheme is one of a host of energy projects advancing in the Tees Valley as the area looks to major on renewables at its legacy industrial sites.

Seal Sands Road connects via a roundabout to the A178 Seaton Carew Road and the A1185 – the access road runs from Seal Sands Road to the south-eastern corner of the main area of the application site.

This access road is also used to access the KD Pharma and Lianhetech sites adjacent to and to the east and west of the application site, in an area that is dominated by chemical works, petrochemical facilities and oil refineries and associated infrastructure, together with areas of undeveloped land including areas of grass, scrubland, marsh and drainage channels.

According to MJCA, the site itself was constructed during a land reclamation project in the 1970s, using bunds and walls constructed with slag and marl and filled with sand dredged from the nearby estuary.

Manufacturing at the application site ceased in 2007 at which time chemicals and pipework were removed.

Listings reasons for being ‘minded to approve,’ officers note that “in terms of social and economic benefits the development will create a significant investment with a value of over £500m, up to 200 jobs in the construction phase and up to 35 total full time equivalent permanent jobs directly employed. A condition has been recommended to secure the local labour and investment where possible”.

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