A five-week consultation over plans for a new power substation in Biggleswade has begun.
UK Power Networks has been commissioned by Central Beds Council to develop the substation on land to the north of Dunton Lane - in conjunction with National Grid.
Three open-air face-to-face events, as well as three webinars, will be held to get feedback from local residents - which UK Power Networks says will help inform the ongoing design of the proposals.
The proposals include two new compounds: A National Grid site (Biggleswade 400kV Substation) and a UK Power Networks site (Biggleswade East Grid), which will draw power from the existing overhead power lines that run over the site north of Dunton Lane.
The National Grid compound is expected to have a footprint of around 150m by 130m, and be a maximum height of 15m - while the UK Power Networks compound will be approximately 180m by 100m with a maximum height of 9m.
In comparison, an average football pitch is up to 120 metres long and 90 metres wide.
Footpath 24 travels across the proposed development site - but UK Power Networks says the footpath will stay, along with a new one being created to the north of the proposed development to provide an alternative route.
This route will also provide additional connectivity with the Public Rights of Way network in the immediate area.
Central Bedfordshire Council is currently consulting on changes to schools in Biggleswade and the surrounding area.
As part of this, there are proposals for a new secondary and a new primary school on land east of Biggleswade. However, the exact location of these schools has yet to be determined.
UK Power Networks is hoping to be able to start building the substation in summer 2022 - with power being switched on in December 2024.
Geraint Hancock, UK Power Network’s Biggleswade Substation project lead, said: “The Biggleswade Substation project will increase power capacity to meet growing electricity demand that is coming onto the network as we shift to clean energy to charge our electric vehicles, heat our homes and power local industry.
“We’re working with a range of stakeholders and the wider community and have organised in-person and online webinar events to give everyone the opportunity to speak to the project team, learn more about the project’s benefits, and have their questions answered.”
Councillor Kevin Collins, Executive Member for Planning and Regeneration, said: “This is a hugely significant investment for the Biggleswade area, and I encourage residents to look at the plans and provide feedback to UK Power Networks on this important project.
“We will all be using more and more electricity in the future as we turn to low carbon technologies such as electric vehicles. We are planning ahead and investing in local power infrastructure now to make sure our residents can continue to access a reliable energy supply as the area grows and demand for electricity increases.”
UK Power Networks is writing to local residents and details of the project will be shared online via the Biggleswade Substation project site. Residents can contact the project team on 0800 689 5209 or email [email protected]
It says that when complete, the Biggleswade Substation project will help support continued investment in the Biggleswade area, as well as the Government’s aim of achieving Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
The consultation runs until Monday, October 18.
The consultation events are:
Saturday, September 25: in person at Saxon Pool and Leisure Centre, 12pm to 5pm
Monday, September 27: webinar from 6pm until 7.30pm
Tuesday, September 28: webinar from 12.30pm to 2pm
Wednesday, September 29: in person at The Orchard Community Centre from 2pm to 7pm
Thursday, September 30: in person at Dunton Village Memorial Hall from 2pm to 7pm
Monday, October 4: webinar from 6pm to 7.30pm
Visitors to the events are encouraged to continue wearing face coverings, observe social distancing where possible and use the hand sanitiser stations around the exhibition.