Ardent was instructed by Eggborough Power Limited to supply land and property advice, as part of a consortium of multi-disciplinary experts, to support its application for a Development Consent Order (DCO) for the Eggborough Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) project (in North Yorkshire) in 2016, and provided continuing support through to 2019. Ardent initially carried out Land Referencing over three potential pipeline options along with organising access to land for a wide range of ecological and archaeological surveys to feed into the optioneering process to inform the final preferred gas pipeline option.

The Proposed Development comprised a generating station within the operational boundary of the existing Eggborough Power Station as well as pipeline connections and associated infrastructure across open farmland and beneath the River Aire. Positive engagement with the local community and a wide range of statutory stakeholders was essential to the successful delivery of the DCO). Ardent led the negotiations with landowners and tenants that ensured that concerns were addressed, and the design modified to address these during the preapplication stage, such as refinements to proposed temporary construction access routes for the gas pipeline, in order to reduce disturbance.

Ardent led on the production of the Book of Reference, Land Plans, Crown Land Plans and Special Category Plans. Ardent also made substantial inputs into the Statement of Reasons (SoR), consultation report, draft Order and produced the land cost estimate budget for the funding statement. Ardent was able to provide valuable advice on these documents from the considerable DCO experience it has, a total which now extends to 60 DCO applications.

The application was submitted in May 2017 making it one of the fastest DCOs from origin to submission to the Planning Inspectorate, and in September 2018 development consent was granted for the project.

Ardent acted as the land expert throughout the examination speaking at hearings and responding to Compulsory Acquisition questions raised in written format. Ardent also responded to all written representations and written submissions from land interests.

Ardent continued to work on securing land option agreements throughout the pre-examination and examination phases with affected landowners and numerous tenants and occupiers across mainly rural land but some residential areas too. By the conclusion of the examination in March 2018, Ardent had secured signed Heads of Terms with 94% of affected landowners, including the Crown Estate. Critical to the success of these option agreements was the interaction and relationship that was built with the CAAV group and the bringing together of a small consortium of agents, who together advised nearly 90% of the affected landowners. The effort and success by the Ardent team in securing these signed Heads of Terms was paramount to the successful consent of the project.

The benefits from early, positive engagement were validated when the project team were specifically commended by the Examining Authority during the DCO Examination hearings for the positive and collaborative approach we had taken to engage statutory and nonstatutory consultees to address their concerns. This led to the project being shortlisted for the inaugural NIPA Project of the Year award in 2019.