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£25m facility given green light near Norwich in bid to encourage drivers to switch to electric vehicles

PUBLISHED: 14:08 15 November 2018 | UPDATED: 14:23 15 November 2018

The substation owned by the National Grid on the A140. Picture: Marc Betts

The substation owned by the National Grid on the A140. Picture: Marc Betts

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A £25m battery storage facility which could bring fast chargers for electric vehicles to the city has been given the go-ahead.

The substation owned by the National Grid on the A140. Picture: Marc BettsThe substation owned by the National Grid on the A140. Picture: Marc Betts

Pivot Power, along with the National Grid, applied to South Norfolk Council for a 49.9MW battery facility next to a substation on Ipwich Road at Dunston.

It will be one of the first 45 sites across the UK that will combine 50MW batteries with rapid EV charging stations, which it is hoped will encourage more drivers to make the move to electric cars.

Matthew Boulton, chief operating officer of Pivot Power, said: “We want to support councils working to clean up air pollution, promote low-carbon policies and develop a sustainable economy with better services for local people. Close collaboration will ensure that we build the right infrastructure in the right place to make it easy for drivers, businesses and public services to switch to electric vehicles.”

It is hoped the site will be operating by April 2020, and will store enough electricity to supply almost 6,000 homes for a day from a single charge.

The Norwich site - which will be surrounded by a security fence and will be fitted with CCTV - comes as part of a £1.6bn programme to set up a national network of batteries fed by National Grid sub stations.

A response from the council’s senior conservation and design officer said while nearby Dunston Hall is a grade II listed building, the separation meant there will be little visibility between he two sites.

South Norfolk Council approved the bid on November 7.

Martin Cole, Pivot Power’s planning director, said they looked forward to working with councils and stakeholders on potential charging projects.

“Following Southampton and Carlisle, this is our third site to receive planning permission and Norwich is an important part of a world-first programme to deliver a 2 GW battery network across the UK,” he said.

“The network will accelerate the uptake of EVs and reduce air pollution. We currently have a number of planning applications pending decision and a busy programme of submissions scheduled for 2019.”

Work has been ongoing to reduce high air pollutions levels in some parts of Norwich city centre, in particular Castle Meadow and St Augustine’s Street.

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