Green light for the Darwen Energy Recovery Centre (DERC)

18 Oct 2019

RPS is delighted to have helped secure planning permission for a state-of-the-art energy recovery centre in Darwen, Lancashire on behalf of SUEZ Recycling and Energy Recovery UK (SUEZ).

The Darwen Energy Recovery Centre (DERC) will generate up to 50MW of sustainable electricity - enough to meet the needs of 60,000 homes - the equivalent of every home in Blackburn with Darwen Council.

Fuelled by residual municipal and commercial waste which would otherwise be landfilled, the scheme represents a £300 million investment into the local area and will provide long term, high quality employment for around 50 people.

Additionally, as the facility will be CHP Ready, the heat it generates will be available to local businesses; not only helping to meet the Council’s carbon reduction agenda but potentially acting as a catalyst for future investment in the area.

SUEZ appointed RPS in September 2018 to provide planning, design, environmental impact and technical assessments and set us the ambitious challenge of designing a deliverable scheme and securing an implementable consent by October 2019.

We worked collaboratively with SUEZ to meet this ambitious challenge and devised a pragmatic consenting strategy we were confident would absolutely deliver the client’s requirements. This involved pre-application discussions with officers at Blackburn with Darwen Council and the Environment Agency, in addition to negotiating a Planning Performance Agreement to ensure the Council dedicated sufficient resources to manage the application.

Overall, due to SUEZ’s extensive pre-application public consultation that we fully supported, and through the strength of the submission prepared by RPS, the application culminated in only a handful of objections from members of the public; a rarity for schemes of this nature.

Consent was delivered within 13 weeks of submission, three weeks ahead of the Government’s statutory 16-week target and six weeks ahead of the ambitious target set by the client; a brilliant result for the team but more importantly a positive development for the local area.

Kris Furness, SUEZ Senior Planning Manager, said: “We are thrilled to bring this important project to a positive conclusion, and to do so in advance of the statutory targets is testament to the dedication and collaboration of everyone involved”.

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Darwen Energy Recovery Centre visualisation


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Andrew Stevenson

Director - Planning T: +44 113 220 6190 Email

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