WORK is set to begin on a multimillion pound project that could be crucial to the region's economy, but which will also cause road closures.

The £7.5 million scheme is intended to connect the new Salesbury Enterprise Zone with the county's electrical grid and will involve creating a new 33,000-volt substation and laying more than 22 kilometres of underground cables, with work starting on Monday February 8 2021.

However, to ensure engineers can carry out work safely, Electricity North West will have a series of road closures and temporary traffic lights in place on Phillips Road, Blackburn, Preston New Road, Yew Tree Drive, Ramsgreave Drive, Brownhill Drive and Whitebirk Drive.

Electricity North West project manager Ian Lillis said: “This project is critical for the future growth of the Samlesbury Aerospace Enterprise Zone, and for the economy of the wider area.

“We understand that when that work affects existing roads, it can be difficult for commuters or residents, so we will do our utmost throughout this project to keep any disruption to a minimum and thank the residents of Samlesbury for their patience and cooperation.”

The project was planned last year following an agreement between Lancashire County Council, who say that the new Samlesbury site has the potential to become a national centre for advanced engineering and manufacturing companies that could be critical to the region's economic recovery, and Electricity North West.

Lancashire County Council leader Councillor Geoff Driver CBE said: "I'm very pleased to see work starting on this scheme.

"Providing additional electricity capacity at Samlesbury Aerospace Enterprise Zone is a great milestone for this strategically important employment site in Central Lancashire and supports Lancashire's broader economic recovery programme."

The scheme at Samlesbury is one of eight projects that Electricity North West is embarking on across the region as part of a £25 million investment.

The projects are part of the Leading the North West to Zero Carbon plan, a £64 million scheme announced in 2019 to move the region towards a more low-carbon future.

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.

“By starting work on schemes like this one in Samlesbury now, we are ensuring the network has enough capacity for the first steps of that transformation, and will guarantee that the major new facilities already being built there will have all the power they need to drive clean growth.

“Not only will that help us remain one of the most reliable networks in the UK, but it will also pave the way for the region to move towards becoming a cleaner, greener place to live.”