PLANS for a reserve power plant in Bishop Auckland have been approved.

The plant, to be built next to the town’s fire station and accessed from the A688, is designed to provide electricity to the National Grid during surges in demand.

Applicants Sirius said the plant, which will operate for around 3,500 hours a year and provide up to 20MWh of battery power, was needed as a back up as the UK moves towards renewable energy.

Councillor Charlie Kay said: “I would welcome this because when the lights go out no-one will be happy.”

Cllr Mark Wilkes raised concerns about emissions but the meeting heard that the council’s environmental health team thought the development would have an “acceptable” impact.

Two people had objected to the scheme for the two-hectare site, currently used for grazing.