East Havering Datacentre and Ecology Park

We have been in negotiations with a private sector developer, Digital Reef, to build Europe’s largest datacentre on a site of 499 hectares.

The proposed site of the datacentre campus, located one mile from the M25 and two miles from Upminster underground and mainline rail stations, will provide public access to greenbelt land which is currently private.

The initiative will support innovation in zero carbon energy, digital infrastructure and the monitoring of agricultural and other land use activity to improve the sustainability of the planet, which has the potential to become a world-leading centre for the development of green technology.

The partnership with University of Leicester will conduct research on vertical farming, potentially creating food production that equates to 1000 acres of farmland production but using only around 15 acres.

This is a potential national trial to deliver greater food security to the United Kingdom, therefore has much broader national significance and will more than compensate for the loss of some farm land.

It is also an opportunity for the UK to both lead and collaborate globally, in carbon-offsetting and greenhouse gas reduction incentives.

The majority of the site, up to 300 acres, will also become an ecology park for the public to enjoy, in order to deliver the aspiration for the datacentre to be carbon neutral.


Members voted to endorse the proposals at the Cabinet meeting on 9 November 2022.

This decision means the Council in its capacity as Local Planning Authority can begin to take a view on the appropriate planning route for this project.

The planning route for this proposal is still to be determined.

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