Biomass plant bid another step nearer

PROPOSALS to build a £250m biomass power station in Blyth have moved another step closer to fruition following their formal acceptance by planning chiefs.

A new round of consultation will begin now the Planning Inspectorate has taken delivery of an application for a development consent order for a renewable energy power station at Battleship Wharf.

Developer Renewable Energy Systems (RES) is proposing to build the power station on a brownfield site at the Port of Blyth.

It would burn woodchip from sustainable sources including managed forests and the by-products of timber manufacture.

Most of the wood fuel used would be delivered to the site by ship.

If given the go-ahead, the station would have the capacity to generate up to 750 gigawatt hours of electricity a year – enough to power around 170,000 homes.

Project manager Chris Lawson said: “Acceptance of our application is a major milestone, and we are looking forward to participating in the next phase of consultation and providing any further information that the Planning Inspectorate may require.

“There is still some way to go before our plans can become a reality, but we have been greatly encouraged by the support we have received so far from local people and organisations who can see the opportunities that the proposed development represents.”

It is estimated that the power station would employ around 150 people during its two-year construction phase, although tat could rise to 300 at peak times.

About 50 staff would be needed to operate the completed plant.

Mr Lawson said: “We are confident that the skills and services exist to match our requirements and that many of the opportunities will be filled from the local population.

“In addition to direct employment during construction and operation, the biomass power station would also create knock-on employment.”

For further details, go to www.northblythproject.co.uk