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Frequently asked questions

We have addressed some of the most common questions about this project below.

Project Background

1. Who is involved in the proposal?

Rushcliffe Borough Council is working with Uniper, owner of Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station, to explore options for the future redevelopment of the site.

2. What stage is the project at?

The power station will close at the end of September 2024 in line with government policy to end coal-fired power generation. This public consultation is an opportunity to view information, hear the emerging vision and initial ideas for the site, and find out more about the plans.

Local Development Order

3. What is a Local Development Order?

Local Development Orders (LDOs) are made by local planning authorities and give planning permission to specific types of development, within a defined area.

The Council is currently preparing an LDO, working in collaboration with Uniper.

Government guidance encourages landowners and local authorities to work together when preparing LDOs. This approach provides a greater level of planning certainty and enables faster and more flexible delivery, whilst enabling the Council to retain control over the future use of the site. This is particularly important for the Ratcliffe site, as faster delivery will support the transition to a lower carbon future and could provide the best opportunity to retain and reskill the power station workforce as the plans move forward. This approach will also ensure incentives from the Freeport status can be captured. These include government support for developers, to promote investment and trade; and additional funding to local authorities that would be used to support associated regional priorities, such as road improvements.

4. What is the East Midlands Freeport?

Local Development Orders (LDOs) are made by local planning authorities and give planning permission to specific types of development, within a defined area.

The power station is one of three key sites that form the East Midlands Freeport, which was recently recognised by government. Freeports are a flagship government programme designed to attract major domestic and international investment and deliver on the “levelling-up” agenda. Freeports are similar to ‘enterprise zones’; being designated areas nominated to attract new investment and jobs in relevant sectors. The government has set an ambitious timescale for Freeports and wants to see development brought forward quickly. Government guidance encourages the use of LDOs to achieve planning permission on Freeport sites.

Further information can be found at

The Power Station

5. Why is the power station being redeveloped?

The power station will close at the end of September 2024 in line with government policy to end coal-fired power generation. Following the subsequent closure of the power station the buildings would be redundant and the contribution made to the local economy lost.

The emerging vision for the Ratcliffe site is to move towards becoming a zero carbon technology and energy hub for the East Midlands, supporting continued economic growth, and helping to meet the region’s decarbonisation goals.

The emerging vision for the site sets out the guiding principles by which the development would be brought forward, and seeks to deliver:

  • A zero carbon technology and energy hub for the East Midlands
  • High-skilled jobs
  • Modern industrial and business uses, served by on-site sustainable energy generation and storage
  • Advanced manufacturing, for example for production of electric car batteries
  • A hub for research, development, and innovation, through links with universities, business support organisations and established industry.

6. When is the power station being decommissioned?

The power station will close at the end of September 2024 in line with government policy to end coal-fired power generation. Following its closure, the main power generation buildings, cooling towers and other structures will be decommissioned and demolished, with the site remediation activities returning the land to a condition that would be suitable for the future development of the site. This will be a complex process and is likely to take a few years to complete.

7. What will happen to the cooling towers?

The cooling towers are approaching the end of their design life, and retention of any towers would come with a significant cost to maintain these structures and meet safety requirements. Retaining the cooling towers would directly impact any future development at the site and the benefits this would bring to the East Midlands. Therefore, Uniper does not propose to retain any of the cooling towers.

Development Mix and Size

8. What type of buildings might be built on the site?

We are currently at an early stage in the project, so the exact type of buildings is not yet determined. The feedback from this public consultation will help to shape the proposed development mix.

The redevelopment could include:

  • Industrial, manufacturing and data operations with high energy demands
  • Low-carbon and green energy generation
  • Energy storage
  • Advanced manufacturing
  • Logistics
  • Research and training facilities
  • Other complimentary uses

9. What size of buildings might be built on the site?

We are currently at an early stage in the project, so the exact size of buildings is not yet determined. The LDO will set out the parameters (e.g. building heights) within which all new development would come forward, whilst providing flexibility to accommodate future market investment opportunities.

10. How many jobs will the LDO create?

The redevelopment of the site would deliver a range of socio-economic benefits for Rushcliffe, Nottinghamshire and the wider East Midlands economy. This includes the potential to create an estimated 7,000-8,000 jobs once the site is fully occupied. Further jobs could be created or supported indirectly through the site redevelopment, which has the potential to further support the East Midlands economy by attracting national and international companies, helping to deliver long-term investment in the region.

11. What is the timeline for construction and the site being operational?

We are unable to confirm exactly when construction activity would be completed. This would depend on which companies choose to locate at the site and the industries they are from. After approval of the LDO, individual companies would be responsible for seeking approval for a detailed scheme for their respective developments. For a development of this size, we expect the site to be fully developed over a period of 10 years or more.

Land will be released for development over time as the operations at the power station wind down. Redevelopment is anticipated to take place in three main phases as follows:

  • Phase 1: Large areas of the site are currently available for redevelopment, or could be made available relatively easily once an LDO or planning permission is in place. These areas include under-utilised areas to the north of the A453 and the area in and around the ash fields to the south. The EMERGE Centre has planning approval (subject to completion of the Section 106 Agreement) and construction is expected to begin during this time.
  • Phase 2: Following the closure of the power station in late 2024, the land associated with the coal stockpile will be released, and development can take place in this area.
  • Phase 3: Following closure, the main power generation buildings, cooling towers and other structures will be decommissioned and demolished. Site remediation activities will return the land to a condition that would be suitable for the future development of the site, after which the third phase of the site redevelopment can begin.


12. What could the proposal look like?

The site would be redeveloped with a range of features to attract sustainable energy and advanced manufacturing businesses. The key emerging design principles for the site are:

  1. Creating a highway link to connect the north and south plots into a single campus
  2. Using green corridors to support pedestrian movement and biodiversity on the site
  3. Integrating landscaped areas to sit the development comfortably within its surroundings

The initial studies have identified three distinct employment areas:

  • North: New Energy. Hosting low and green carbon energy and waste businesses, which are supported by road and rail connectivity, high capacity and reliable power supplies. This includes the EMERGE Centre which was granted planning approval by Nottinghamshire County Council in 2021, subject to the completion of a Section 106 legal agreement.
  • West: Innovation Campus. Hosting offices, research and development, training / learning facilities
  • South: Making District. Hosting advanced manufacturing facilities, for example, to produce electric car batteries

13. How would build quality be ensured?

After the LDO is adopted, detailed plans for each building would be subject to further approval by the Council. Each application will need to demonstrate how it complies with the overall requirements set out in the LDO and would need to be approved by the Council before construction can take place.

Movement and Connectivity

14. How have you approached travelling to and from the site?

We will undertake a Transport Assessment to consider how the travel demands generated by the plans would be accommodated. The assessment will consider walking, cycling, public transport and private vehicles as modes of travel, as well as any trips generated by deliveries and servicing.

The site already benefits from good access to the local and regional road network, and car parking would be provided on-site. However, the focus is on reducing the need to travel by car by providing easily accessible public transport. For example, by improving access to East Midlands Parkway railway station and bus access to the site. In addition, we would look to secure a route for a future tram extension and make walking and cycling a more attractive alternative for local journeys for people working at and visiting the site. The site currently benefits from a dedicated freight rail spur and it is envisaged that this would be retained as an alternative to road-based HGV transport.

15. Have all new developments within the local area been considered within the Transport Assessment?

The scope and supporting work for the Transport Assessment will be discussed with the local highway authorities including Nottinghamshire County Council, and with National Highways (formerly Highways England), who are the body responsible for the strategic road network, such as the A453 and M1. Other developments in the local area that have already received planning permission, will be considered as appropriate within the Transport Assessment.

16. Have you considered how the development will impact regional and strategic routes from the Site?

The potential impacts on strategic routes, such as the A453 Remembrance Way and the M1 motorway, will be considered in the Transport Assessment. The extent of the road network considered in the Transport Assessment will depend on the forecast highway impacts and will be advised by discussions with the appropriate local highway authorities, including Nottinghamshire County Council and National Highways (formerly Highways England).

17. Will the local walking routes be retained?

There are a number of Public Rights of Way which pass through or nearby the site. It may be necessary to re-route some of these Rights of Way to accommodate the proposed development. The intention would be to retain and realign the Rights of Way wherever possible, to maintain connectivity for local residents and countryside users.

18. Will there be improvements to public transport?

We are exploring the opportunity to provide direct access into the site from East Midlands Parkway Station. This could potentially be via a new pedestrian footbridge for short distance trips or could involve a bus link or other forms of shared transport for on-site destinations that are located further away from the station.

We would explore opportunities for improving bus access into the site from the local areas including Nottingham city centre. This could link into bus services that currently run past or local to the site, and also bus routes that serve other major local employment areas.

There may be potential to extend the Nottingham Express Transit (NET) tram network past the site to East Midlands Airport. Over time, this could supplement or replace some of the bus routes that would serve the site or connect with East Midlands Parkway station, and the development would be designed to include a potential future tram route, should this be deemed appropriate.

Consultation with public transport providers such as Network Rail, Nottingham City Council (Nottingham Express Transit), bus operators and local highway authorities will be undertaken where appropriate to discuss opportunities for improving public transport access.

19. How are road links going to be improved?

The focus is on sustainable modes of transport rather than encouraging car usage. However, the Transport Assessment will include an assessment of the operation of the local highway network, including the A453 and M1, and will identify whether any highway improvement measures are required. The details of these will be agreed with the local highway authorities and National Highways as appropriate.

20. Will any restrictions be placed on construction traffic?

A Construction Management Plan will need to be submitted to, and approved by, the Council before each phase of construction takes place. This will agree how and when construction traffic arrives at the site, and will seek to minimise the social and environmental impact of construction traffic by limiting the usage of local access routes during the construction stages and operation.

21. What about HS2? How are you accommodating this in your plans?

We had already taken into account the High Speed Two (HS2) safeguarded route as it passes through the north-west of the site. In November 2021, the government published its Integrated Rail Plan, which includes a revised route proposal to connect the eastern leg of HS2 to East Midlands Parkway station, with onward connections to Nottingham and Derby. As a result, it is likely that the current East Midlands Parkway Station will need to be adapted to connect with HS2.

We will explore the potential to provide direct pedestrian and cycle access from East Midlands Parkway Station to the site, and will co-ordinate with any future proposals to upgrade the station as part of the recently announced plans to connect the station to HS2.

Sustainable Place

22. What approach are you taking towards mitigating climate change?

The emerging vision for the Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station site is to move towards becoming a zero carbon technology and energy hub for the East Midlands, with modern industry and business uses served by on-site sustainable energy generation. This will support regional and national strategies to help meet the UK’s Net Zero commitment.

Providing good public transport connections and sustainable travel options will also support healthy lifestyles, helping to reduce the number of vehicle movements to and from the site, and the resulting vehicle emissions.

23. Will the development be an energy-efficient place?

The site could include on-site sustainable energy generation, from sources including energy-from-waste, solar panels, hydrogen and other potential sources of low carbon energy. The LDO will include the requirement for a range of sustainability measures, including energy-efficient building design and construction. These must be accommodated when detailed proposals are brought forward.

24. Is there a target for biodiversity on the Site?

The LDO will seek to integrate biodiversity within the development with the aim of improving habitats and creating improved connections across the site. Ecological surveys have been undertaken to understand the existing characteristics of the site. This detail will feed into the masterplanning process to ensure that habitats are protected or managed through best practice, where possible, and that appropriate mitigation and compensation is in place for any areas that may be impacted.

25. What impact will the development have on the environment, and how will adverse effects be managed?

The existing site is already a substantial and prominent industrial area. The power station, and the buildings and impacts from its operation, would be removed as a result of its closure and redevelopment.

New developments could have their own impact on the environment, and we will be undertaking an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to assess the potential effects on the environment resulting from their construction and operation, and how any impacts on the environment will be minimised and mitigated. The EIA will consider the proposed land uses and traffic generation from the redevelopment of the site and other planned developments in the local area as part of its assessment.

In line with the Town and Country Planning EIA Regulations 2017, an assessment will be undertaken to understand impacts on a range of topics including agriculture; air quality; archaeology and built heritage; climate change (including resilience and carbon); ecology and biodiversity; human health; ground conditions; landscape and visual; materials and waste; noise and vibration; traffic and transport; socio-economics; and water resources.

In addition, the cumulative effects with other existing and / or approved projects during the construction and operation phases will be assessed to understand any effects upon the environment at a broader scale.

The findings from the EIA will be documented in an Environmental Statement, which will be submitted as part of the LDO process.

The mitigation hierarchy will be followed as part of the assessment and design process which seeks to first avoid and then minimise impacts. Only then would the project need to compensate via mitigation for impacts that cannot be avoided.

If compensating for impacts is not possible, or does not generate the required level of compensation, then offsetting impacts by gains elsewhere would be explored.

26. What air quality and noise impacts are anticipated from the development?

The Environmental Statement will have chapters dedicated to the assessment of air quality, and noise and vibration impacts. These chapters will consider the impacts associated with these aspects on identified sensitive receptors during the construction and operation of the scheme, including those associated with increases in road traffic that may result.

Air quality, noise and vibration impacts associated with the construction works will be mitigated through the application of industry-standard best practice measures, and provision of a Construction Environmental Management Plan.

The site itself benefits from excellent public transport connectivity which will maximise the number of journeys made using sustainable modes. In addition, electric car charging points will be incorporated throughout the site. These interventions, amongst others, will help reduce potential increases in air and noise pollution generated from changes in road traffic flows.

Open Space and Green Belt

27. Will there be any impacts on trees and open space?

All potential impacts on the environment are being carefully considered in line with the latest environmental standards and legislation. There are some areas of woodland to the south of the A453 which may require removal to accommodate the plans. However, as part of the site proposal, it is expected that there will be new areas of tree planting, landscaped areas and spaces for nature and wildlife.

Early ecological surveys have been undertaken during 2021 to help us understand what species and wildlife currently live on or move through the site. The Environmental Impact Assessment will consider the potential impacts from redeveloping the site upon these aspects and identify appropriate management and mitigation measures.

28. Will there be any green spaces?

It is expected that green corridors would run through the site as well as informal rest and recreation areas. There could also be footpaths and Public Rights of Way which pass through the site.

29. Is the site within the Green Belt?

All of the site is currently located within the Nottingham / Derby Green Belt. To adopt the LDO on Green Belt land, the Council will need to carefully consider how the benefits of the proposed development, such as job creation, contribution to Net Zero commitments and alignment with wider government policy, balance with Green Belt objectives.

The Planning and Consultation Process

30. Is the LDO in line with the Rushcliffe Borough Council Local Plan?

Rushcliffe Borough Council has long recognised the potential for further development at the power station site, identifying it as a Centre of Excellence in the adopted Local Plan, where proposals for new sustainable development, changes of use or redevelopment of existing buildings will be favourably considered. The case for allocating the site for redevelopment is being considered as part of the emerging Greater Nottingham Strategic Plan. The Plan preparation is ongoing; however, it is unlikely to be adopted within the timescales proposed for bringing forward the LDO.

31. How does the this relate to the EMERGE Centre proposal?

In 2020, Uniper submitted a detailed application for planning permission for the development of an energy recovery facility at the power station site – this is known as the East Midlands Energy Re-Generation (EMERGE) Centre. The facility will generate energy from non-hazardous domestic and commercial waste left over from the recycling process.

The application was granted planning approval on 22nd July 2021, subject to the completion of a Section 106 legal agreement. The application was determined by Nottinghamshire County Council, which is the planning authority for waste management related development.

Local Development Orders do not supersede any planning permissions that have already been granted in the area, nor do they stop the implementation of development that is covered by other planning consents or permitted development rights.

Therefore, the EMERGE Centre proposal can continue to be implemented while the LDO is being prepared. Its cumulative impact will be taken into account in the LDO plans included in the masterplanning work, and in any cumulative assessments required to support the Environmental Impact Assessment and Transport Assessment.

32. How can I comment on the LDO, and how will you consider my feedback?

We are running a public consultation to seek your views on the proposals between Monday 29th November 2021 and Monday 10th January 2022.

You can fill out a consultation questionnaire online via the website, or you can print and fill out a hard copy questionnaire and send it back to us free of charge at Freepost RATCLIFFE LDO. Alternatively, you can share your comments via email to the dedicated project email address The deadline for completing the questionnaire is Monday 10th January 2022.

We will carefully consider the feedback and use it to help shape the plans. Following the public consultation, we will provide an update summarising the feedback we received and explaining how it has influenced the plans.

33. What happens next?

Following this first round of public consultation, we will carefully consider the feedback we receive and refine the plans to enable the preparation of a Draft LDO.

We will carry out a further round of statutory consultation in 2022, which will provide a further opportunity for residents, local businesses and organisations to make representations to the Council as part of the process.

The Council will then look to bring forward the LDO for formal adoption at a meeting of Borough Councillors – this could take place in late 2022.

If the LDO is adopted, the detailed plans for each phase will be subject to a separate application for approval, to ensure compliance with the LDO parameters and conditions set out by the Council. Planning conditions would be placed on the LDO, for example, to agree Construction Management Plans for each development.