Electricity North West to begin work on £7.5m investment in Samlesbury

Electricity North West to begin work on £7.5m investment in Samlesbury

Electricity North West is set to begin work on a £7.5 million scheme to create vital new capacity on the network in Samlesbury.

The investment will accelerate the progress being made at the Samlesbury Aerospace Enterprise Zone, which will create significant new demand on the electricity network as businesses grow and develop.

The project was confirmed last year following a collaboration agreement with Lancashire County Council, which is leading the delivery of the site and Electricity North West has now confirmed that work is set to begin on site on Monday, February 8th.

The network operator’s work will facilitate the delivery of the 50-hectare Samlesbury Aerospace Enterprise Zone become a national centre of excellence for advanced engineering and manufacturing related companies, capable of accommodating up to 1.5 million sq ft of floorspace.

It is a strategically important employment site and vital to the economic recovery of Lancashire and presents an opportunity to accelerate and shape economic growth and business productivity across Lancashire.

Electricity North West’s investment in the area includes creating a new 33,000-volt substation and laying more than 22km of underground cables connecting the site to the network and paving the way for further strategic development.

Peter Emery, chief executive of Electricity North West, said: “Through economic growth and the adoption of low-carbon technologies, the demand for electricity is starting to rise and will gather pace rapidly in the years to come.

“By starting work on schemes like this one in Samlesbury now, we are ensuring the network has enough capacity for the first steps of that transformation, and will guarantee that the major new facilities already being built there will have all the power they need to drive clean growth.

“Not only will that help us remain one of the most reliable networks in the UK, but it will also pave the way for the region to move towards becoming a cleaner, greener place to live.”

To ensure engineers can carry out work safely, Electricity North West will have a series of road closures and temporary traffic lights in place. The affected roads are Phillips Road, Blackburn, Preston New Road, Yew Tree Drive, Ramsgreave Drive, Brownhill Drive and Whitebirk Drive.

Ian Lillis, Electricty North West’s project manager for the Samlesbury scheme, said: “This project is critical for the future growth of the Samlesbury Aerospace Enterprise Zone, and for the economy of the wider area.

“We understand that when that work affects existing roads, it can be difficult for commuters or residents, so we will do our utmost throughout this project to keep any disruption to a minimum and thank the residents of Samlesbury for their patience and cooperation.”

The scheme at Samlesbury is one of eight key projects that Electricity North West is embarking on across the region as part of a £25 million investment in creating vital new capacity.

As well as providing for industrial growth in areas like Samlesbury, the projects will support the region’s transition to using more renewable electricity for everything from transport to heating.

County councillor Geoff Driver CBE, Leader of Lancashire County Council said: "I'm very pleased to see work starting on this scheme.  Providing additional electricity capacity at Samlesbury Aerospace Enterprise Zone is a great milestone for this strategically important employment site in Central Lancashire and supports Lancashire's broader economic recovery programme."

Sales of electric vehicles have more than trebled in the UK in the past year and as the region looks to hit its net zero carbon targets, shifting to other more sustainable technologies is expected to see peak-time demand for electricity double by 2050.

The projects are part of the network operator’s Leading the North West to Zero Carbon plan, a £64 million scheme announced in 2019 to ensure those living and working in the region continue to enjoy one of the most reliable electricity networks in the UK while smoothly transitioning towards a more low-carbon future.