Peak-time stand-by power plant project at Leiston is withdrawn after protests

Proposals for a gas-powered electricity station to help meet peak-time demand have been withdrawn after opposition from residents and community leaders.

Planning officers at Suffolk Coastal had recommended approval for the project in Leiston, despite fears over fumes, noise and light pollution.

Councillors though highlighted several deficiencies in the submitted plans and called for more information and improved drawings to show the impact on the neighbourhood, and said they would need to make a site visit before finalising a decision.

UK Power Reserve Ltd has now written to planning officers formally withdrawing the planning application – and giving no indication of whether it will be resubmitted at a later date.

The scheme had proposed building a 20MW standby station on a one-acre site in Carr Avenue to provide electricity to the National Grid for short periods during unexpected bouts of demand at peak-time, to avoid the risk in the years ahead of rolling blackouts.

The station would, on average, have operated about 800 hours a year as part of a countrywide network of similar stations.

It would have been 42metres long and 10m high with a 23m long bank of 3m high radiators and a transformer compound.

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UK Power Reserve said on average such power plants were used for around 80 minutes a time.

Residents were angry that the plans for the project failed to show there were homes next door to the site which would be “overshadowed” by the gas works and at risk from noise, fumes and light pollution.

Leiston-cum-Sizewell Town Council also objected and said the site was “most unsuitable”. There were other sites around the town that could be used and a similar project already had permission for land at the Eastlands Industrial Estate.

Planning case officer Stephen Milligan said the full modelling report submitted with the application had been considered by the environmental protection officer who had raised no objections following detailed scrutiny – and it was not considered that emissions from the development would result in serious impact to necessitate the refusal of planning permission.

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