THINGS are looking up for Hampshire's tallest building.

Fawley Power Station has stood sentinel at the mouth of Southampton Water for 30 years. But the energy-generating colossus - whose 202-metre chimney dwarfs Salisbury Cathedral spire - was crippled in the mid-1970s by hikes in the price of oil.

For years Fawley Power Station has been partly mothballed, forced to downscale its output to a quarter of its 2000-megawatt potential.

But suddenly this Cinderella-among-generators has turned on some powerful friends.

Independent Power UK - linked to American electricity giant Xcel Energy - announced plans last week to buy the power station for £42 million.

Now the stark and chunky power station has an advocate for its inclusion within the prestigious boundaries of the planned New Forest National Park.

Influential conservation watchdog The New Forest Committee, made up of ecology experts, councillors and officers from two dozen local authorities and organisations, has examined the boundary of the park as proposed by the Countryside Agency.

They support the inclusion of Dibden Bay within the park and want Ringwood added.

And they argue that Ashlett Creek, near Fawley, should be included right down to low water - and that coincidentally includes the power station.

NFC officer Maddy Jago said: "There are very few windows from the Forest on to the water. Eling, Dibden Bay and Ashlett Creek are the biggest links left.

"Visually, the landscape is of high quality, and at Ashlett Creek there is little impact from the adjacent power station - the coastal impact is so strong.

"Areas down to low water mark are of international ecological interest and there is a well-used footpath with exceptional views of the coastal marsh, Southampton Water and Calshot.

"Although the path runs alongside the power station it is a surprisingly tranquil and beautiful waterside landscape, and the shoreline is used for rough grazing," said Ms Jago.

"We think that consideration should be given to including this whole section in the proposed National Park."

Official Verderer Maldwin Drummond (pictured) supported the recommendation, but added: "It's a shame we can't include Fawley's ancient and beautiful church too."