Biomass Power Plant plans delayed in the face of public backlash

Posted on April 26, 2011 by

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Planning permission for the proposed Biomass Power Station has been delayed for a redesign and second consultation following a backlash against the original plans by residents in Millbrook.

Nearby residents were up in arms against the original plans, as we reported on previously, over concerns that the proposed building would dwarf local houses, create extra air pollution in an already polluted and built-up area, and not live up to its green-sounding claims if it imported wood from dodgy places.

Helius, the company behind the plans, received considerable amounts of feedback in the public consultation, which was backed up by protests in the local area, and are now planning to redo their plans.  In an email to people who had originally contributed to the consultation they said:

In response to the public feedback received, Helius has commenced a review of the siting, form and external appearance of the scheme. Opportunities to provide more detail on the design approaches for the project will also be considered. Helius will also review and update air quality, noise and traffic assessments.

This follows a letter from the ‘No to Southampton Biomass’ campaign group to Helius, in which they told the company that the pre-application process had been “totally inadequate” due to a lack of well-advertised notice of the plans and information on the scale of plant, and demanding the company “Immediately halt their application in its current form” as a result.

Local residents are celebrating this success in their campaign, but are waiting out on how much the plans will change next time round and whether they properly address concerns over pollution as well as just the appearance of the building.

Environmental campaigners are also keen to make sure the commitment to get high-quality certified wood is kept, and that no dodgy wood from rainforests or damaging plantations are used, but suspicions have been stoked by the company’s refusal to give out more information on this as “commercially sensitive information”.

The new plans will be put out for consultation this Summer in preparation for submitting the application to the City Council planners later in the year.  We’ll keep an eye on it and bring you the latest on this story.

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Posted in: News, Southampton