Council accepts £1.86m building grant from SEMLEP

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Bedford Borough Council has received £1,867,500 from the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) to deliver a green energy park at a former landfill site in Elstow.

The Bedford Green Technology & Innovation Park project will deliver low carbon, clean energy generation technologies and encourage others to reduce carbon emissions, adopt innovative technologies and improve air quality.

The first stage of the project will use solar power to begin generating energy.

The project will also provide an education and training resource through partnership working with the University of Bedfordshire, Cranfield University and local colleges, alongside promoting wider acceptance of renewable energy technologies.

Alongside allowing the Council to make more efficient use of the 30-ha site they have earmarked for the park, this project will generate more construction jobs locally and stimulate the local job market in the growing energy technology sector.

The Council will be able to generate revenue through supplying onsite buildings and local businesses with low carbon, clean energy. In future, they plan to bring more commercial development opportunities through providing nearby distribution centres with green electricity.

Councillor Charles Royden, Portfolio Holder for Environment, said: “We would like to thank SEMLEP for the money that we have been awarded through this grant. The grant we’ve secured through the Getting Building Fund will help towards a £4.15m council investment to deliver green energy across Bedford Borough and help us achieve our target of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

“The project will deliver jobs for the Borough, promote education and training for businesses and individuals and allow us to generate income through opportunities to supply green electricity to businesses in the area.”

Hilary Chipping, Chief Executive of SEMLEP, said: “Meeting our sustainability targets is going to require all commercial developments to consider how we generate, store and use energy efficiently. The plans by Bedford Borough Council to develop the Green Technology and Innovation Park is tackling this head on. It will give many local businesses options to make clean energy choices and create local opportunities for skilled jobs in the growing renewable energy sector.”

The Council has started works to cap the ground with clay in accordance with the planning approval for this site with the project due to be completed early 2022.