The Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) has allocated £1.76 million of Local Growth Fund investment towards a £3.5 million cost to support the construction of an access road to the UK’s first low and zero emission refuelling station at Tyseley Energy Park. A ground-breaking ceremony was held at the site – a collaboration between owners Webster & Horsfall and Birmingham City Council – today (Thursday 17 May).
The new road – together with a crossing over the River Cole – will enable HGVs, buses, taxis and vans to access the new low and zero emission refuelling hub from the A45 Small Heath Highway in south east Birmingham. The development forms part of the city’s plans to address the reduction of emissions to improve air quality and create a low emission re-fuelling infrastructure.
The construction of the access road will see the creation of more than 135 jobs at companies linked to Tyseley Energy Park. It will attract up to five new businesses at the site and generate an increase in investment into Tyseley and the Eastern Corridor between Birmingham and Solihull.
Chris Loughran, Deputy Chair of GBSLEP, said:
Tyseley Energy Park, located fewer than three miles from Birmingham city centre, will provide companies with better access to fuels that are more environmentally friendly. GBSLEP’s investment reflects our commitment to growing the region’s energy sector, which has real potential to generate new jobs and bring more investment here.
“The new access road is more than just a connection between Small Heath Highway and Tyseley Energy Park. Making this important site easier to reach will help to attract more energy businesses to the Greater Birmingham and Solihull area, create new apprenticeships and training facilities for our young people, and contribute to the future success of our regional economy.”
The 16-acre Tyseley Energy Park is located within the Tyseley Environment Enterprise District, and has been earmarked as one of the West Midlands’ first four Energy Innovation Zones. The Zones’ main focus will be to integrate low carbon technologies to develop the business models and infrastructure needed to support new approaches to clean energy.
The new access road and creation of a low and zero carbon refuelling station will be known as phase 2 of the Tyseley Energy Park development. The facility will be capable of refuelling up to 500 vehicles per day with hydrogen, compressed natural gas and biodiesel fuels, as well as offering rapid electric chargers. Birmingham City Council will pilot the use of 20 GBSLEP-funded, hydrogen-fuelled buses from March 2019, in a bid to tackle airborne pollution on key bus routes, revolutionising road-based public transport within the city.
Ian MacLeod, Assistant Director for Planning and Regeneration at Birmingham City Council, commented:
Tyseley Energy Park represents a hugely significant milestone in the work we are doing to tackle air pollution in Birmingham, providing a low and zero-emission refuelling hub for a range of vehicles, including the fleet of hydrogen-fuelled buses we will be piloting next year.
“I am delighted that we have been able to work with our partners to take this exciting project forward, bringing in valuable investment and, crucially, ensuring that we have the infrastructure in place to put cleaner, greener vehicles on our roads.”
David Horsfall, Director of Tyseley Energy Park Ltd, said:
By working in collaboration with world-class partners, Tyseley Energy Park presents a once in a generation opportunity to deliver green infrastructure that will drive forward change and attract major investment into the Tyseley Environmental Enterprise District.
“We’re excited by the potential of the site, which is set to improve air quality within Birmingham. The low and zero carbon refuelling station being brought forward in this phase of development will form part of a distributed energy system that will be the first of its kind in the UK.”
The total cost of the civils work for the low and zero carbon refuelling station is £3.89 million. The remaining £2.13 million has been sourced privately. Construction of the access road will be completed in December 2018.
To date, Tyseley Energy Park has already seen the construction of a £50 million Biomass Power Station, which processes 72,000 tonnes of waste timber to power 17,000 homes. The station has created 19 full-time jobs, and reduces the carbon footprint by 107,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum. The remaining phases of development will deliver a further 16,900 sq m (182,000 sq ft) of employment space that will provide innovative clean energy technologies to meet local and regional market needs.