Work now underway to transform former landfill site at Elstow into a green energy innovation park - bringing more jobs to the borough
Bedford Borough Council was awarded more than £1.8m to help enable the plans to become a reality
A former landfill site is being transformed into a green energy innovation park – with work now underway at Elstow.
Bedford Borough Council was awarded more than £1.8million from the South East Midlands Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) Getting Building Fund last year, enabling plans for the all-new Bedford Green Technology and Innovation Park to become a reality.
Work to cap the closed 30-hectare site with clay began last year and the site is soon set to become home to more than 1,800 solar panels, which will generate and supply onsite buildings and local businesses with low carbon, clean energy.
Construction teams are on site and at work and to date 120,000 tonnes of materials have been brought onto the site for the capping works, now underway. Once the capping works are completed a platform will be formed for the installation of the solar panels.
Plans are also progressing to use the site as an education and training centre, with early support already pledged by the University of Bedfordshire, Cranfield University and local colleges.
Hilary Chipping, Chief Executive of SEMLEP, said: “It’s so exciting to see this former landfill site being transformed into such an innovative energy park. We look forward to the Park generating green, low carbon, clean energy in Bedfordshire, encouraging others to reduce carbon emissions, adopt innovative technologies and improve air quality.”
Mayor Dave Hodgson said: “This is a really exciting project, creating green energy at a former landfill and creating jobs right here in Bedford Borough.
“The Council has consistently worked to lead the way on tackling climate change, working to reduce our carbon emissions towards a target of being carbon neutral by 2030. This site will give more local businesses the option to use low carbon, clean energy.”
With preliminary works now underway Bedford Green Technology and Innovation Park is due to be completed by early 2022.
Green councillors also welcome the "green energy park" now underway.
Lucy Bywater said: "This is good news in terms of generating low carbon energy but especially in terms of local education and innovation.
"We need the Council to not just be setting an example with renewable energy use but also leading the way in creating quality jobs and skills in a low carbon economy.
"In addition I think there are really important ways in which the Council can make it easier for local people to reduce their own energy use such as through home energy efficiency advice."
Ben Foley added: "We look forward to seeing more Council work with local universities and businesses especially in tackling the many environmental challenges we face: the council itself is only directly responsible for two per cent of emissions in the borough, and we need to deal with the other 98 per cent too: the council can do a lot to set the framework there."