Sustainable Business Park

Baglan Energy Park is a strategic low density development site situated on the M4 corridor on the coast of South Wales, a UK area with an unrivalled reputation for achievement. The site was formerly part of the Baglan Bay site, which for many years was home to one of the largest chemical plants in the UK, operated by BP, and the site of a former steel works (see picture, below left). The steelworks closed in the early 1980s. In 1994, BP announced the closure of a major part of the chemical plant’s operation with the loss of 600 jobs. The effect on the local economy was recognised by BP, who put aside £3 million to help create new jobs in the area. In addition to this, 60 acres of land was set aside to attract investors onto previously unused BP and Neath Port Talbot (NPT) land.

Baglan by airToday, the Energy Park consists of two phases, with Phase 1 already well developed. The Park is a joint venture between BP, the WDA and Neath Port Talbot (NPT), who in 1997 formed a partnership to deliver the infrastructure for the site’s redevelopment. The site has been developed with high environmental objectives and attractive buildings, including the provision a state-of-the-art power station built by GE on site following the closure of the BP Baglan Bay plant in 2004. This power station offers a unique selling point to investors through a competitive energy concept as supply is not through the National Grid.

Baglan Energy ParkIn addition to this, Phase 1 of the park also houses a solar centre, which BP developed for the 1998 G8 summit in Birmingham (right). After the summit, the building was re-assembled in Baglan and it now forms an annex to the Technium building within Phase 1 of the park. The building generates its own electricity, with surplus electricity being fed into the site grid system, symbolising the ethos of the Park.

Sustainable Drainage Systems

As part of the infrastructure provision, SuDS features were provided to effectively manage surface water generated from the development. Surface water generated from development plots in Phase 1 is conveyed to an attenuation basin before discharging to the Baglan Brook via a second basin, which also attenuates surface water run-off from the adjacent M4 motorway. This two-stage system ensures that the Baglan Brook channel (which runs some 850m through the site) is not overwhelmed during periods of heavy rainfall, helping to sustain development in the area and reduce pollution.

Some of the development plots within Phase 2 are drained via soakaways and swales, limiting discharge to the Brook (above left). The provision of these systems helps to achieve the Park’s environmental objectives and provides a selling point for potential investors.

Flooding Mitigation

In line with TAN 15, a strategic level Flood Study of the Energy Park and larger former BP site was undertaken by Arup in late 2005. This study culminates in flooding scenarios and a Development Matrix for plots, identifying mitigation against flood risk where appropriate. If approved by the Environment Agency, the study will be used in individual planning applications for development plots without the need to commission individual studies. This study was commissioned by the joint venture and further promotes the sustainable development by considering the site as a whole. This reinforces the ethos of the Energy Park in terms of environmental considerations.