Ampthill Flexible Generation Facility, Bedfordshire

Flexible Generation Facility

Redmore Environmental was commissioned to undertake an Air Quality Assessment in support of a flexible generation facility comprising three gas fuelled 2.5MW engines on a parcel of land to the south of the town of Ampthill, Bedfordshire.

Flexible Generation Facility Background

A flexible generation facility supplies additional energy to the national grid at times of peak demand. Unlike traditional power plants, the adaptable nature of these systems means they can turn on or off rapidly, responding when an area requires additional electricity. These periods often occur between the hours of 4.00pm and 7.00pm when much of the population returns from work in the evening. As these facilities are often operational during peak hours, they may also be referred to as peaking power plants.

In order to generate electricity, flexible generation facilities rely on burning a source of fuel, commonly diesel or natural gas. This process results in the release of combustion emissions as a waste product. The proposals at Ampthill comprised a gas fuelled flexible generation facility with a 7.5MW capacity. An Air Quality Assessment was therefore undertaken to quantify potential impacts associated with releases from the generators.

Dispersion Modelling Assessment

A dispersion modelling assessment was undertaken using ADMS 5.2 in order to determine potential air quality impacts associated with combustion emissions from the flexible generation facility. The model set up considered emissions specific to the selected engines, the height of the stack associated with each generator and the building topography in the surrounding area. A sensitivity analysis of five meteorological data sets was included to take account of annual variation in conditions which influence average concentrations. The findings of the assessment were compared against the relevant air quality standards and the significance of impact at individual receptor locations determined in accordance with the Institute of Air Quality Management (IAQM) guidance.


The results of the assessment indicated that predicted nitrogen dioxide concentrations were below the relevant air quality standard within the vicinity of the site with the facility in operation. The overall effect of the development was considered to be not significant in accordance with IAQM guidance. The report was submitted as part of the planning application for the facility and the scheme was subsequently granted consent by Central Bedfordshire Council.

Flexible generation facilities are specified activities under the Medium Combustion Plant Directive (MCPD) which came into force in December 2018. You can read more about the MCPD here. If you are involved in the power generation market and require an Air Quality Assessment in support a planning or Environmental Permit application, get in touch today and find out how Redmore Environmental can help deliver your project.

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