SLR achieves planning milestone for Shotton Paper Mill project

Post Date
28 April 2022
Read Time
4 minutes

This article was written by Deborah Day.

In an important step towards energy self-sufficiency for Shotton Paper Mill, SLR are delighted to have achieved another significant milestone in the planning process and have obtained full planning consent for the redevelopment of the Mill in Deeside, UK.

What is Shotton Mill?

Shotton Mill comprises a major new paper production facility for the UK that incorporates measures to maximise the use of recycled materials within the production process and the use of on-site low carbon energy generation for all power and heat demands.

Analysis of the UK paper industry shows that the UK is currently a net importer of both containerboard products and tissue products, while at the same time being a net exporter of recycled (waste) paper. The proposed development is intended to close both these gaps by increasing production at the site, thereby allowing the use of more recycled paper, with the proposed new containerboard production facility using 100% recycled paper.

At the same time, by switching production from the declining newsprint market to containerboard and tissue products, the new production facility will allow the UK as a whole to be more self-supporting in these materials, reducing reliance on imported supplies.

It is intended that Shotton Mill will become the second largest paper manufacturing facility in the UK, and when completed Shotton Mill’s new containerboard machine will be the largest and most technologically advanced paper mill in Europe.

The pulp and paper manufacturing sector accounts for 7% of the UK’s national energy demand, making it one of the UK’s biggest energy users. Paper mills require a reliable and continuous source of energy, and a CHP plant is proposed to provide additional power to Shotton Mill to enable the works to be self-sufficient in energy.

The proposed CHP will use gas-fired gas turbines and boilers using gas drawn from the national grid or from on-site processes. CHP is a highly efficient process that captures and utilises the heat that is a by-product of the electricity generation process. The proposed CHP plant is intended to achieve 80% efficiency. As a consequence of the high efficiency of energy generation, based on the ratio of fuel usage to power generated, the proposed plant would qualify under the UK Government’s Good Quality CHP scheme.

Such CHP is considered to provide ‘low carbon’ energy as it produces substantially lower greenhouse gas emissions than conventional fossil fuel power generation. SLR are currently preparing to consult on the CHP plant and hope to submit the application in mid-2023.

How Shotton Mill is benefitting UK growth

Deborah Day, Planning Consultant for SLR adds, “Industrial development accounted for 60% of detailed planning approvals in Wales during the last quarter of 2022 with the value adding up to £724m. This was a 1469% growth compared with the previous year and was all due to the approval of the £600m redevelopment of the Shotton Paper Mill redevelopment (Source Glenigan: Construction News).

This growth has been welcomed by Wales, particularly at a time when project-starts, main contract awards and detailed planning approvals have been on a decline against the previous year. However, the Shotton Mill development does not just benefit Wales by providing more than 600 jobs and giving the economy the boost it needs; the redevelopment will also have wider environmental and economic benefits for the UK as a whole. The scheme is the UK’s sixth largest inward investment scheme and the largest inward investment scheme for Wales.”

How did SLR’s Planning team help?

Shortly after introducing the site to the client, SLR were commissioned to obtain all necessary consents to enable the development to proceed. After successfully achieving demolition consent in September 2021, SLR agreed a two-phase approach to ensure the client’s ambitious programme could be met. After close liaison with Flintshire County Council and Statutory Consultees, SLR secured permission for the first phase of works, which allowed the client to commence enabling works, subject to the discharge of pre-commence conditions.This has been imperative to the scheme’s programme as it will prepare the site and enable the construction of the new containerboard machine.

The second phase of work has now been approved and covers the redevelopment of the entire site including vacant land to the north of the existing plant. SLR are now working closely with Flintshire County Council to discharge planning conditions to allow the contractors to begin works.

The planning applications include a full Environmental Impact Assessment that has been conducted by SLR’s in-house team of technical experts. SLR is also preparing a further planning application for submission to Welsh Government for the development of a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant that will make the paper mill self-sufficient in energy for paper production. Subsequently, SLR will also prepare the environmental permit variation application required to allow the redeveloped site to operate. It is anticipated that this will be submitted to Natural Resources Wales in late 2023.

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