The development process
Gate Burton Energy Park is anticipated as having a generation capacity of around 500MW. The amount of electricity the scheme could generate means that it is classified as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP).
The development consenting regime for an NSIP comes under the Planning Act 2008. This means we need to apply for a Development Consent Order (DCO) to build Gate Burton Energy Park. This would be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate rather than a local planning authority.
In the case of energy-related development, the Planning Inspectorate acts on behalf of the Secretary of State at the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero. The Planning Inspectorate will carry out an examination of our proposals and then make a recommendation to the Secretary of State on whether or not to grant consent for the development. The Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero will then make the final decision on whether to grant consent for our scheme.
We anticipate that the development process through DCO submission and examination will take between two to three years. We intend to submit our proposals to the Planning Inspectorate early 2023. Subject to consent being granted, the earliest construction would start is early 2025.
More information about the NSIP application process can be found on the Planning Inspectorate website.
Public consultation forms an important part of the pre-application process for NSIPs. Early and ongoing engagement will serve to inform and influence the design process, with local councils, stakeholders and residents all having an important role to play.
For our application to be accepted we need to satisfy the Planning Inspectorate that pre-application consultation with local communities and statutory consultees has been carried out in accordance with the relevant legislation.
The development of our proposals for Gate Burton Energy Park is an iterative process and we welcome views at any time. Prior to submitting a DCO application for the project we have held two stages of consultation inviting views and feedback on our evolving proposals.
Stage One Consultation - 11 Jan to 18 Feb 2022
We held a first stage of consultation for Gate Burton Energy Park in early 2022. This non-statutory consultation ran for nearly six weeks from 11 January to 18 February 2022.
The aim of this consultation was to introduce Low Carbon and the overall project and share our early-stage proposals to give people the opportunity to share their views and local knowledge.
Through this consultation we specifically sought views and feedback on:
- overall project,
- an indicative concept masterplan for the solar energy park,
- three broad corridor options a grid connection to Cottam substation could be routed in,
- suggestions for local initiatives and projects we could support to benefit those communities closest to the project.
Feedback submitted to this consultation helped us better understand those aspects of our early-stage proposals for the solar energy park that people wanted us to prioritise as we have continued to evolve the design for the scheme.You can find out more about this first stage of consultation here.
Statement of Community Consultation (SoCC)
On 8 June 2022 we published our Statement of Community Consultation (SoCC) setting out how we will engage with and obtain feedback from the local community on our detailed proposals for Gate Burton Energy Park as part of our Stage Two Statutory Consultation.
As the developer for the project, we then have a duty to demonstrate how we have had regard to the comments we receive during this consultation when we finalise our application for development consent.
In preparing the SoCC we engaged with those Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) which 'host' the Project; West Lindsey District Council, Lincolnshire County Council, Bassetlaw District Council and Nottinghamshire County Council. We took the views and feedback they provided in producing our final SoCC.
A copy of our SoCC is available to view and download here.
Stage Two Consultation - 22 Jun to 5 Aug 2022
Having continued to refine our proposals for the project, we carried out a second stage of consultation. This second stage of consultation was statutory consultation as required under sections 42 and 47 of the Planning Act 2008.
During this statutory stage of consultation we provided information and invited feedback on:
- The overall project
- Our updated concept masterplan setting out where equipment would be located within the solar energy park
- The broad corridor in which an electrical connection into Cottam substation could be routed largely using underground cable
- Measures we’re proposing to avoid or reduce those impacts associated with the project that were identified in our preliminary environmental assessment work and feedback to earlier consultation
- Community benefits
You can find out more about this second stage of consultation here.
Further to this consultation closing, we have continued to review our proposals in light of all the feedback received, along with the findings from our ongoing assessments so we can finalise our detailed proposals for Gate Burton Energy Park.
Targeted consultation – 03 Nov to 13 Dec 2022
Following Stage Two statutory consultation on our proposals for Gate Burton Energy Park, we made some localised changes to the extent of certain works for the project.
These changes related to minor additions made to the boundary for the project – known as indicative Order Limits – which result in a small increase in land take. The reasons for these changes relate to the engineering and construction of the project. We also adjusted the indicative Order Limits in a number of places so that they follow field and land ownership boundaries.
You can find out more about this stage of consultation here.
We will continue to revise the indicative Order Limits in response to any consultation feedback we receive prior to submitting our application for a Development Consent Order (DCO) to the Planning Inspectorate.
As the developer we have a duty to demonstrate how we have taken your views into account in developing our final proposals. Our final application will include a Consultation Report summarising the responses submitted to consultation along with an explanation of how we’ve had regard to those views expressed when developing our final proposals.
A copy of the Consultation Report, along with our other application documents, will be published on the Planning Inspectorate’s website if and when our application has been accepted. We will write to or email everyone who has taken part in consultation to let them know when this information is available to view.
If you would like to receive updates about the Project, please register your details with us HERE.
Further opportunities to contribute
We are unlikely to carry out any further consultation on our proposals for Gate Burton Energy Park ahead of submitting our application for development consent to the Planning Inspectorate.
However, further to our application being accepted for examination by the Planning Inspectorate, you will be able to directly register your interest in our proposals with them directly. This will ensure you are kept informed about the progress of our application during the examination process and provide further opportunities to contribute.
You can find more information about the application process for NSIP projects on the Planning Inspectorate website at: infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk.