Talks begin over plans for new power station and gas pipeline

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CONSULTATION is to start on plans for a new power station that will use gas from an underground pipeline to power more than two million homes.

The proposed site at Knottingley, near Wakefield, is the former Oxiris Chemical Works and some adjacent land.

Irish energy firm ESB, which is state owned, says the project could create up to 1,100 jobs at the peak of construction and up to 50 posts for the 25-year operation of the plant.

It would take up to three-and-a-half years to build from 2015 if planning consent is granted.

The power station would use natural gas to generate electricity to power around two million homes.

It is envisaged that an underground pipeline of 8km or less would have to be laid to bring gas to the plant. The exact route is being discussed with landowners but will need to reach the existing gas network near Gateforth, near Selby, North Yorkshire.

A new electricity connection will also be needed to export power to the national network but it is anticipated that the new connection will use the existing pylons east of the site.

A company spokesman said consultations had taken place with Wakefield Council, Selby Council and North Yorkshire County Council.

Members of the public, including residents who will be affected by the proposed power station, are now being asked for their views.

“The purpose of the consultation is to give the local community the opportunity to learn about our plans and give their own views, comments and opinions on our project, specifically relating to the pipeline, site layout, ancillary services and other design issues that are still undetermined,” the spokesman added.

“After each consultation stage we will publish the key themes that respondents raised. We will use relevant responses to help us consider any changes that we need to make to our proposals.”

He said the generating capacity of the plant was required to “address anticipated shortfalls in generation that will result from older power stations closing and increases in projected demand.”

The company has designated two consultation zones - those living and working within 1.5km of the site and a broad pipeline search area. The other zone will be those who are between 1.5km and 5km of the site boundary.

“We recognise that people who live, work and use the area within consultation zone one will have extensive and valuable local knowledge. By speaking to people in the area we recognise there is a considerable opportunity for local input on our project.”

The first stage of consultations will be a series of public exhibitions which will be staffed by company experts who can answer questions from the public.

The company is also asking a range of organisations for their views, including English Heritage, the Environment Agency, Natural England, parish councils and local planning authorities.

The location and dates of the second stage of the consultation will be made available nearer the time.

The public exhibitions will be held at:

* Knottingley Town Hall on Monday May 21 (12-9pm)

* Beal Village Hall on Tuesday May 22 (10,30-8.30pm)

* Eggborough Village Hall on Friday May 25 (11.30-8.30pm)

* Knottingley Town Hall on Saturday May 26 (10.30-7pm)

* Haddlesey Community Church Hall on Tuesday May 29 (10.30-5.30pm)

* Kellingley Village Hall on Wednesday May 30 (12.30-8.30pm)

The company is inviting members of the public to email them for further information: info@knottingleypower.co.uk

Or visit the website at www.knottingleypower.co.uk

The company can be contacted on 0800 0931 520.

andrew.robinson1@ypn.co.uk