A number of international companies have revealed their support today for the proposed development in Hull close to the Saltend BP plant as the city seeks to make itself the green energy capital of the UK.
Supporters already include Almax, IBM, L&G Investment Management, SSE Utilities, ZTE, Vodafone, the Association of British Insurers (ABI), as well as local education providers Hull College.
The site earmarked for the project is a former aerodrome within the boundary of South Preston village in the East Riding of Yorkshire.
The proposals could generate a multi-million pound investment boost for the Yorkshire and Humber economy with every £1 invested expected to have an impact of £3 on the local economy from the construction phase alone.
Yorkshire-based developer Sewell and Eco Parks Developments Ltd have partnered with London based Chiltern, a national renewable energy, infrastructure and technology project facilitator, to deliver the proposed scheme.
The location benefits from the billions of pounds being invested in North Sea renewable energy generation and brings together low carbon energy generation and storage, education and training, and energy intensive industries, such as information technology and food processing, on a single large site, providing a business environment unique in the UK.
The site is currently owned by Hull City Council and the developers have been working in partnership with the Council to ensure that the project optimises economic development opportunities for the area whilst also recognising the ecological importance of the Eastern part of the site. Local sports and community facilities will also benefit from the investment by being relocated on site to new and improved accommodation.
Chris Turner, Chairman of the Yorkshire Energy Park project, said: “With the level of corporate backing already committed to this project, the Yorkshire Energy Park has the potential to provide a major economic, education and training boost to this region and create a project template for the UK’s low carbon industrial future, as set out in the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper.”
Rob Cawkwell, Project Director from Sewell Investments, said: “This underutilised site is regionally unique in that it has the benefit of size and direct access to natural gas and electricity infrastructure.
“We have spent almost 1,000 hours listening to and briefing stakeholders, and taken on board the comments and points raised, which are clearly reflected in the outline planning submission.
“This third round of information events will demonstrate how much we have listened, as well as how previous events have informed the application.
“On the back of extensive community engagement, we have extended the green buffer zone by almost 50%. Over the life of the development, that area is protected such that we will never build on it and it will be reserved for birds and wildlife.
“We have also taken traffic management into account both on and off site, flood mitigation measures that will have a positive impact both on and off site and we are protecting the views of the churches in Hedon, Preston and Paull, referred to locally as the Three Sisters.
“Both strategically and technically, this scheme ticks all of the boxes and meets all of the requirements for the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper. We look forward to showing the final proposals to members of the public and other stakeholders.”
Matt Jukes, Chief Executive, Hull City Council, adds: “We have been in discussions with the developers for some time to ensure that the development plans are robust and deliverable.
“The site is of key strategic importance and we are keen to maximise the positive impact that this scheme can have on wider economic development of the sub region.
Two rounds of consultation sessions have already been held in Preston, Hedon, Paull and Thorngumbald as plans for the Yorkshire Energy Park develop.
Following introductory consultation events held in June last year, a further five drop-in sessions took place in October to share the latest proposals and answer any questions about the proposed development.
Subject to a successful planning application, work on the Yorkshire Energy Park could begin in early 2018.