WORK is set to begin on a £7.5million scheme to improve the electricity network between Blackburn and Preston and accelerate progress at the Samlesbury Aerospace Enterprise Zone.

This comes as part of a partnership between Lancashire County Council and Electricity North West, which launched its North West to zero carbon plan last year, to help the county’s utilities reduce their dependence on fossil fuels and move towards more sustainable energy.

Lancashire County Council leader Geoff Driver welcomed the move.

He said: “This is good news for our county’s future.

“The work at Samlesbury is invaluable as it is a strategically important employment site in Central Lancashire and is also of paramount importance to Lancashire’s broader economic recovery programme.”

When fully developed, the Samlesbury Aerospace Enterprise Zone will be a national centre for research and advanced engineering and for manufacturing-related companies ranging from manufacturing to specialist logistics.

The scheme is the first of eight key infrastructure projects that aim to support the North West’s switch to new technologies such as electric vehicles to dramatically cut carbon emissions.

In total, Electricity North West will be investing £25m across the North West over the next three years to shift the regional economy towards cleaner energy sources.

Electricity North West chief executive Peter Emery said: “Through economic growth and the adoption of low-carbon technologies, the demand for electricity is starting to rise and will gather pace rapidly in the years to come.

“The investments we’re making in places like Samlesbury right now are to ensure the network has enough capacity for the first steps of that transformation."