No need for overhead pylons at proposed Eye Airfield power station, says Progress Power

Progress Power project manager, Chris McKerrow, talks about the proposal for a power station at Eye

Progress Power project manager, Chris McKerrow, talks about the proposal for a power station at Eye Airfield during a consultation exhibition at Eye Community Centre. - Credit: Archant

The company behind plans to build a power plant on Eye Airfield has announced that if given the go-ahead, it will locate cables underground to avoid the need for overhead pylons.

The £200m gas-fired scheme, by Progress Power, had come under fire from people living nearby over concerns about possible pylons, as well as worries about noise and access to the site.

It said however that 'as a result of local feedback', as well as talks with Mid Suffolk District Council, Suffolk County Council and statutory bodies such as the Environmental Agency and English Heritage over the past six months, as well as various technical and environmental assessments, there had been a number of 'significant' changes to the proposed project.

As well as the decision about the cables, it has also chosen to reduce the power station's chimney stack heights from 90 metres to no more than 30 metres. The gas pipeline connecting the power station to the national gas transmission system will be underground.

Progress Power's project director Chris McKerrow said: 'Progress Power is seeking the views of local people on the project, including the proposed location and layout of the power generation plant, the location of the electrical connection compound - substation and sealing end compound - and routing of the electrical connection; the route of the gas connection as well as the findings of the project's preliminary environmental studies. In order to do this, we are encouraging people to attend the public exhibitions, log on to our website or visit local libraries, which all have the latest information and the necessary contact details to get in touch.'

The company last week distributed more than 19,000 leaflets to homes and businesses in the area around the airfield, and will hold a series of public consultations, beginning later this month.

These will be held at:

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Hoxne Village Hall on October 11 from 2.30pm to 6.30pm.

Mellis Memorial Village Hall on October 12 from 9am to 1pm.

Park Hotel in Diss on October 14 from 4pm to 9pm.

Cornwallis Arms in Brome on October 15 from 3pm to 8pm.

Eye Community Centre on October 18 from noon to 5.30pm and October 19 from 9am to 1pm.

Progress Power, said that if given the go-ahead, the scheme would have the capacity to generate up to 299 MW of electricity and potentially power up to 400,000 homes.

It could create up to 250 jobs during the two to three year construction period, it added, and 15 permanent skilled jobs for on-going operation and maintenance. The plant could become operational in 2018.

The consultation period will end on November 7 with the hope of submitting an application for a Development Consent Order to the Planning Inspectorate early next year.