PERMISSION has been granted to construct the largest electricity generation plant of its kind in the UK on the outskirts of Selby.

Selby District Council has given the green light for a Short Term Operating Reserve (STOR) plant which will provide back up power for the National Grid.

The plant is being developed by Precision Diesel Enterprise on part of the former Gascoigne Wood Mine Site at Sherburn-in-Elmet, and will consist of eight diesel generators.

The operation, which is set to create two full time and two part time jobs, will be housed within a single pre-fabricated steel building as well as an associated infrastructure for water coolers, diesel storage tanks and underground cabling.

The nature of the proposal means the generators will only become fully operational at periods of peak demand, when grid capacity is severely short, which can result from power station fails or differences between forecast and demand. This is envisaged to be a maximum of 500 hours per year.

Claire Harron of planning and design consultancy Barton Willmore, which acted for Precision Diesel Enterprise, said as well as creating local jobs, an additional benefit of the scheme is that it will re-use vacant previously developed land.

She said: "At 49.9MW this is the largest scheme of its type in the UK and demonstrates the need to address the issue of the UK's grid capacity for ensuring the long term security of our national electricity requirements.

"Careful consideration has been given to ensure that the scale and look of the site is compatible with the surrounding area and visual impact will be minimised."

Work on the site is set to start in Autumn following the recent planning approval.