Biomass plant plans to come in for scrutiny

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A FIVE-month inquiry into plans for a £250m biomass power station in Blyth is about to get under way.

Renewable Energy Systems (RES) has applied to the Planning Inspectorate for approval to build the 100mw power station at the Port of Blyth’s cargo-handling facility on Battleship Wharf in North Blyth.

A formal inquiry will begin later this month to give people the chance to have their say on the proposals.

Some residents of Blyth and Cambois, are campaiging against the creation of the power station, voicing concerns about the size and proximity of the planned building.

Northumberland County Council has been asked to provide a local impact report on the project, including the views of residents.

Frances Wilkinson, strategic and urban development manager at the council, said: “Visual impact is an issue that has been raised by some of those local residents that have responded to the consultation, in particular the scale of the proposal and its proximity to their properties.

“Although the proposal would be located in an industrial area which already contains a number of vertical structures and large-scale industrial buildings, the proposed biomass plant would be located in close proximity to a number of houses in North Blyth and would be visible over quite an extensive area.”

It is anticipated that the power station would create between 200 and 300 construction jobs and up to 50 permanent posts.

An initial meeting has been held to outline the issues which will be looked into during the inquiry, including safety, emissions, landscape, visual impact, design, access and transport and the sustainability of biomass fuel.

Miss Wilkinson added: “The proposed development would provide a positive contribution towards continued port operations, particularly through the transport of fuel to the proposed development by sea and rail and will also provide employment opportunities.”