Posted: Thu 29th Jun 2023

Lack of grid capacity hampering expansion plans for Wrexham businesses

news.wales / newyddion.cymru
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Jun 29th, 2023

A lack of grid capacity in Wrexham is hampering major firms from expanding and boosting the economy, the council’s deputy leader has said. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Pant and Johnstown Cllr David A Bithell (Ind), the council’s climate champion, gave an update on the authority’s decarbonisation plan at a housing and environment scrutiny meeting. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Members heard there is little spare capacity left in the town centre and the creation of more sub-stations is being looked at. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cllr Bithell said he and fellow members of the council’s ruling executive board had met with large employers in the county and received feedback that they would struggle to expand without increased connectivity. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

He said: “Myself, Cllr Nigel Williams and the leader (Cllr Mark Pritchard) recently attended a meeting with JCB, Kellogg’s and another company on the Wrexham Industrial Estate and one of the biggest issues that is facing Wrexham collectively is grid capacity. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“There are many big companies like JCB, Kellogg’s etc and more who want to increase capacity and the grid network. They see it as a major drawback with expansion plans to boost the economy, so we are taking the issue up. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“The other thing as well is the hydrogen hub. Many of the companies we’ve spoken to want to get engaged with hydrogen but the difficulty is having the connectivity to expand their businesses.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cllr Bithell added: “We are working with the cross-border group the Mersey Dee Alliance, we are working with the Economic Ambition Board North Wales and we recently had a visit in Wrexham with the chair of the economic ambition board to showcase Wrexham. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“But there is a major drawback with grid capacity that needs to be addressed in the next few years.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Fellow Pant and Johnstown Cllr Steve Joe Jones (Ind) asked whether street lighting could be powered by solar, and asked whether that had been considered for lighting around new schools being built in the county. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The council’s climate change and carbon reduction manager Jayne Rodgers added that it was being looked at as part of the plan. She said some of the existing street lighting columns were old and in need of replacement but this would require funding. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Both New Broughton Cllr Claire Lovett (Ind) and Bangor-on-Dee Cllr Robert Ian Williams queried lights being left on in council buildings and schools. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cllr Lovett said: “Just an observation here in the chamber today – we’ve got every light possible on, on what is a bright day. Is there really any need?” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cllr Bithell asked the scrutiny committee to continue to support the council’s decarbonisation work and to promote it at every opportunity.
Councillors thanked officers for the update on the authority’s decarbonisation plan. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

By BBC LDRS ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



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