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Council meeting held to discuss £3bn Greystoke AI data centre

Written by Wed 19 Jun 2024

Image credit: Humber Tech Park

The South Killinghome Parish Council is hosting a meeting to discuss plans for a large Greystoke Land artificial intelligence (AI) data centre project near Immingham, Lincolnshire.

The BBC reported that the meeting will be attended by the North Lincolnshire Council and representatives from the developer, investment firm Greystoke Land.

The proposed development will be comprised of three data centre buildings, with 384 MW of capacity. The plans also include a large horticultural greenhouse, which will be warmed by waste heat from the data centre.

In the application, Greystoke estimated that the development, called Humber Tech Park, will boost the local economy during construction, and bring 370 jobs to the area long-term.

While local residents have lodged concerns over how this development might affect traffic, noise, and the environment, some council representatives have spoken out in support of the project.

“This is a generational level of investment in the area and, if approved would be a magnet for attracting other high-tech businesses. The jobs would be highly skilled and highly paid with many more employed during the construction phase,” said Council leader Rob Waltham.

Greystoke Land’s data centre proposals have been at the centre of some controversy in the UK. In addition to the £3 billion ($3.8 billion) North Lincolnshire project at Humber Tech Park, the company has plans for a £1 billion ($1.2 billion) facility in the Green Belt located just outside of London.

The Iver data centre has already been rejected once by local council and twice on appeal, including an appeal that was escalated to the Secretary of State.

The opposition was based on the idea that the proposed data centre site ‘currently stops the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas; prevents neighboring towns merging into one another; safeguards the countryside from encroachment; and preserves the setting and special character of historic towns’.

Green Belt Remains Buckled

From Greystoke’s perspective, the rejection of the data centre proposal nonsensical, and based on ‘Green Belt theology’.

Director at Greystoke, Anthony Crean, told the BBC in a radio interview that the idea of London’s Green Belt had become a ‘theological’ concept and the mere mention of the label is enough to cancel a project.

He said that the Government ‘got it badly wrong this time’, describing the proposed site as a ‘former asbestos dump between the M25 and an industrial site’.

In January, Three Rivers Council voted on a proposed Green Belt data centre near Abbots Langley, Hertfordshire, and the M25. The project is expected to attract £1 billion ($1.2 billion) in foreign investment.

Greystoke Land had launched a website urging people to get in touch with their local councillors to express their support for the development. Greystoke Land has requested the demolition and clearance of existing buildings and hardstandings for the construction of a hyperscale data centre.

Three Rivers District Council’s planning committee refused permission for the new data centre near Abbots Langley. The report outlined three grounds for refusal, including the site’s location within the Green Belt without meeting special circumstances. It also highlighted potential harm to the area’s character, appearance, and natural environment due to the proposed data centre.

The possibility of utilising the London Green Belt as a data centre construction site has been raised again recently, with rumours that the Labour party would favor a special critical infrastructure designation for data centre projects.

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Written by Wed 19 Jun 2024

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