Proposal for a Gas Fired Power Station at the former Eye Airfield Progress Power shares plans with local communities and seeks views

Local people and businesses in Eye, Diss and in villages in the vicinity of the former Eye Airfield are being asked their views on Progress Power’s plans for a proposed £200m gas-fired power station project.

  • Exhibitions to be held at five local venues
  • 19,000 leaflets distributed to local homes, businesses & civic groups

Progress Power has this week distributed a leaflet to more than 19,000 homes and businesses in the area around Eye Airfield. The leaflet provides the latest information on the project, which was first announced in May 2013, and details of exhibitions to be held this month at five venues in the area.  Advertisements about the exhibitions have also been run in the local press, and posters have been displayed throughout the local area.

As a result of local feedback and engagement 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 have been a number of significant changes to the proposed project.

Progress Power has chosen to underground the station’s electrical connection to the National Grid to avoid the need of overhead pylons.  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.

Information on these changes, Progress Power’s reasons for choosing Eye Airfield, details about other aspects of the project and how people can state their views, will be made available at the forthcoming exhibitions. The information, including the project’s Preliminary Environmental Information Report and a non-technical summary are available on and at local libraries.

The consultation exhibitions will be held at the following locations:

• Hoxne Village Hall, St Edmund’s Hall, Goldbrook, Hoxne IP21 5AN

Friday, 11 October 1430-1830

• Mellis Memorial Village Hall, Mellis Common, Mellis, IP23 8DW

Saturday, 12 October 0900-1300

• The Park Hotel, 29 Denmark Street, Diss IP22 4LE

Monday, 14 October 1600-2100

• Cornwallis Hotel, Rectory Road, Brome, Eye IP23 8AJ

Tuesday, 15 October 1500-2000

• Eye Community Centre, Magdalene Street, Eye IP23 7AJ

Friday, 18 October 1200-1730

• Eye Community Centre, Magdalene Street, Eye IP23 7AJ

Saturday, 19 October 0900-1300

The proposed project would be capable of generating 299MW of electricity, enough to power the equivalent of 400,000 homes, and it would deliver significant economic benefits to the local economy. It would create up to 250 jobs during the 2-3 year construction period and 15 permanent skilled jobs for on-going operation and maintenance of the facility.

The power generation plant would be designed to operate as a ‘peaking plant’, running for no more than 1500 hours per year, to provide back-up generation capacity when there are short-term variations in customer demand and intermittent output from renewable power generation (primarily wind power). The plant would therefore support the UK’s objective to become a low-carbon economy.  It is anticipated that, subject to consultation, the planning process and financing, the power station would enter commercial operation in 2018.

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 consultation period will end on 7th November and we welcome people’s views on or before this date. We will then consider the local feedback, undertake further technical and environmental work and amend our plans as necessary.  We intend to submit an application for a Development Consent Order to the Planning Inspectorate early next year.”

“We are still at an early stage in the planning and consultation process.  Local people will have further opportunities to offer their opinions on the project when the Planning Inspectorate starts its examination process during the course of next year.”