£7m investment in South Manchester’s power network

From left: Steve Waterhouse (Electricity NW), Caitlin Callaghan (MAG Property), Ian Greenwood (Electricity NW)

The region’s power network operator is investing £7m in South Manchester to support the area’s burgeoning business cluster.

Electricity North West has started work on its South Manchester Enterprise Zone project, upgrading part of the power network near Manchester Airport.

The firm is installing a new 33,000-volt substation housing two 40-tonne electricity transformers, almost doubling network capacity in the area.

Electricity North West will also install 30km of new underground electricity cables, with multiple cables along a 5km route between Styal Lane and Thorley Lane to power the rapidly-expanding Airport City Manchester and surrounding areas.

Work is under way and the scheme will improve power supply to thousands of homes and businesses in the local area.

Electricity North West project manager, Ian Greenwood, said: “As the region’s power network operator, we want to provide the best service possible to our customers. That means now, and planning for the future, too.

“We’re supporting the region’s aims to meet a net-zero commitment by 2038, and that means we’re investing in the power network now as we all move away from fossil fuels and use more sustainably-generated electricity.

“Airport City is an exciting project for not only Manchester but the whole region. As more businesses come to the area there will only be an increase in demand for power.

“That’s why we are proactively installing a new substation, massively increasing capacity on the power network in the area. The new substation will ensure that customers will continue to receive the power they need today and in the future.”

He added: “As always, we will do our best to keep disruption to a minimum.

“Digging up roads isn’t easy for people and commuters. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their patience and support to allow us to carry out this essential work safely.”

To enable work to be carried out safely traffic management systems will be in place on the main route between Styal and the airport as well as several residential areas where new 33,000 volt cables will be laid.

The full traffic management programme has been worked on will be agreed with Manchester City Council.

Jonathan Haigh, managing director of MAG Property and Airport City JV Partner, said: “Investment in this new infrastructure is essential to facilitate the delivery of our ambitious landmark £1bn Airport City development, and unlocking the potential to bring 20,000 new jobs to the region over 10-15 years.

“With works set to commence imminently on approved plans for a new £6m pedestrian bridge, hotel development and office development, we have worked collaboratively with Electricity North West and other stakeholders to ensure the power demands of occupiers are met – both in the short term and in the longer term as Greater Manchester progresses towards its aim of becoming carbon neutral and a healthier, cleaner and greener city-region.”

Electricity North West will closely monitor the flow of traffic in the area but has urged commuters to allow extra time for their journeys and try to avoid the area where possible.