Drax gas-fired plant signed off despite Welsh government’s climate emergency declaration

The energy secretary has approved Drax’s proposed 299 megawatt gas-fired power plant in south Wales, saying it will not conflict with the Welsh government's climate emergency declaration and that, being below a 300MW threshold, it will not be required to be carbon capture ready.

Under the Planning Act 2008, all Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project energy schemes with 50MW capacity or more must ultimately be approved by the energy secretary.

Drax was granted a development consent order (DCO) by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Andrea Leadsom last week, following the recommendation of the Planning Inspectorate examining authority.  

Close

Planning Act 2008

In force/
Current
Legislation
England, Scotland, Wales
Published
06 Apr 2016

Commentary

27/03/2015 Amending Order (SI 2015/949) published.
10/03/2016 Amending Order (SI 2016/306) published., 16/01/2017 Amending Regulations (SI 2017/16) published, for England and Wales only.
02/11/2017 Amending Regulations (SI 2017/1012) published.
10/11/2017 Commencement Order (No. 3) (
SI 2017/1078) published, for England only., 28/11/2018 Amending Regulations (SI 2018/1232) published.

Compliance Dates

26/11/2008 Received Royal Assent, 26/11/2008 Provisions of Parts 1 to 9 (except Section 194(2) to (5) and paragraph 7 of Schedule 7) come into force (see Section 241), 26/11/2008 Part 11, except Sections 206, 211(7), 224 and 225 come into force (see Section 241), 26/11/2008 Part 12, except Section 238, comes into force (see Section 241), 26/01/2009 Sections 194(2) to (5), 201, 202, 203 and 225 (together with related entries in Schedule 13), and paragraph 7 of Schedule 7, come into force (see Section 241)
01/03/2010 Certain Sections including Sections 15 to 20 and Sections 22 to 26 brought into force by The Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No.4 and Saving) Order 2010 (SI 2010/101)
06/04/2010 Certain provisions brought into force by the Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No. 5 and Saving) Order 2010 (SI 2010/566)
06/04/2011 Sections 14(1)(o) and 29 brought into force by the Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No. 6) Order 2011 (SI 2011/705)
01/10/2011 Sections 14(1)(p), 30 and 153 and Schedule 6 brought into force by the Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No. 7) Order 2011 (SI 2011/2054)
06/04/2012 Sections 192 and Schedule 8 (tree preservation orders), Section 193 (existing tree preservation orders: transitional provisions), and Section 238 and Schedule 13 (repeals relating to trees specified in the Schedule to SI 2012/601) come into force for, 28/11/2014 Section 198 (appeals relating to old mining permissions) comes into force, in relation to Wales, insofar as it is not already in force (see the Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No. 3) (Wales) Order (
01/01/2018 Sections 14(1)(m), 14(1)(n), 27 and 28 in relation to dams, reservoirs and the transfer of water resources, enter into force for England only (see SI 2017/1078)

Characteristics

Subject

Energy/climate change General policy Land and development Sustainable development Transport Waste

Source

OPSI (Office of Public Sector Information)

Affected Sectors

Cross-sector Oil Water Electricity Gas Waste and Cleaning Construction Transport Rail Transport
ECM

Planning Act 2008

Document Status: In force/Current

Scope: England, Scotland, Wales

Commentary:

27/03/2015 Amending Order (SI 2015/949) published.
10/03/2016 Amending Order (SI 2016/306) published., 16/01/2017 Amending Regulations (SI 2017/16) published, for England and Wales only.
02/11/2017 Amending Regulations (SI 2017/1012) published.
10/11/2017 Commencement Order (No. 3) (
SI 2017/1078) published, for England only., 28/11/2018 Amending Regulations (SI 2018/1232) published.

Compliance:

26/11/2008 Received Royal Assent, 26/11/2008 Provisions of Parts 1 to 9 (except Section 194(2) to (5) and paragraph 7 of Schedule 7) come into force (see Section 241), 26/11/2008 Part 11, except Sections 206, 211(7), 224 and 225 come into force (see Section 241), 26/11/2008 Part 12, except Section 238, comes into force (see Section 241), 26/01/2009 Sections 194(2) to (5), 201, 202, 203 and 225 (together with related entries in Schedule 13), and paragraph 7 of Schedule 7, come into force (see Section 241)
01/03/2010 Certain Sections including Sections 15 to 20 and Sections 22 to 26 brought into force by The Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No.4 and Saving) Order 2010 (SI 2010/101)
06/04/2010 Certain provisions brought into force by the Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No. 5 and Saving) Order 2010 (SI 2010/566)
06/04/2011 Sections 14(1)(o) and 29 brought into force by the Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No. 6) Order 2011 (SI 2011/705)
01/10/2011 Sections 14(1)(p), 30 and 153 and Schedule 6 brought into force by the Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No. 7) Order 2011 (SI 2011/2054)
06/04/2012 Sections 192 and Schedule 8 (tree preservation orders), Section 193 (existing tree preservation orders: transitional provisions), and Section 238 and Schedule 13 (repeals relating to trees specified in the Schedule to SI 2012/601) come into force for, 28/11/2014 Section 198 (appeals relating to old mining permissions) comes into force, in relation to Wales, insofar as it is not already in force (see the Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No. 3) (Wales) Order (
01/01/2018 Sections 14(1)(m), 14(1)(n), 27 and 28 in relation to dams, reservoirs and the transfer of water resources, enter into force for England only (see SI 2017/1078)

The Abergelli Power gas-fired peaking plant will be built on farmland, north of Swansea and will run for an average of 1,500 hours every year, supplying electricity for up to 150,000 homes from its open cycle gas turbines, according to its developers Drax Power.

In reaching her decision, the energy secretary said that the approval of Abergelli “would not itself be incompatible” with the Welsh government’s climate emergency declaration in April or the UK’s legally-binding decarbonisation target of net zero by 2050.

All commercial scale fossil fuel generating stations with a gross generating capacity of 300MW or more have to be ‘carbon capture ready’ to allow for carbon capture and storage equipment to be retrofitted later. 

However, as Abergelli is one megawatt shy of this threshold, Leadsom said the gas power station would not need to meet this obligation, which was in line with the Planning Inspectorate’s opinion.

The Welsh environment regulator, Natural Resources Wales, was also satisfied with Drax’s plans in relation to the potential effects the development would have on EU protected sites, such as the Crymlyn Bog special area of conservation (SAC) and the Burry Inlet special protection area, located within 10km of the proposed plant.

Although nitrogen deposition and acidification levels are already exceeding levels at the Crymlyn Bog SAC –  the 15 habitats present at that site are “not expected to respond to the small increase in nitrogen deposition from the development,” the secretary said.

Abergelli is one of four open-cycle gas turbine units that Drax purchased in December 2016. The others are Millbrook, Progress and Hirwaun, with the four having a combined capacity of 1,200MW.

To see the energy secretary’s decision in full, click here.

Compliance Search

Discover all ENDS content in one place, including legislation summaries to keep up to date with compliance deadlines

Compliance Deadlines

Plan ahead with our Calendar feature highlighting upcoming compliance deadlines

News from ENDS Europe

News from ENDS Waste & Bioenergy