A £250m power station has been given the green light in a boost for the economy in south east Northumberland.
Renewable energy company RES has received development consent from the government for the 100MW North Blyth Biomass Power Station.
The facility, which will be built at Battleship Wharf on Blyth Estuary, will be able to generate low carbon electricity to power the equivalent of more than 170,000 homes every year using sustainably sourced wood-based fuel.
Hundreds of jobs are expected to be created during the construction period.
RES project manager Chris Lawson said: “We are delighted by the government’s decision to grant permission for North Blyth Power Station, which we believe will play an important part in the strong and growing renewable energy industry in south east Northumberland.
“We now look forward to taking the project forward to construction and to kick-starting this multi-million pound investment in the Blyth Estuary area.”
Officials at RES say they are working towards construction starting in 2014.
The project has been subject to extensive scrutiny and consultation with a range of stakeholders – including local councils, businesses and environmental and statutory bodies – while RES has engaged with the local community over the last four years.
Mr Lawson said: “We have really appreciated the interest and input that the local community has given to the North Blyth Biomass Power Station, and in particular the work of the Community Liaison Group (CLG).
“We will continue to work with the CLG, as well as local residents and businesses.”
And the news has been welcomed by local politicians.
Coun Allan Hepple, policy board member for planning, housing and regeneration at Northumberland County Council, said: “We are very pleased to hear the news about this approval, which will mean significant investment for the Blyth estuary area as well many job opportunities during the construction phase.
“It will also build on the strong and growing renewable energy industry in south east Northumberland.”
Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery, whose constituency will be home to the new power station, said: “I welcome the jobs boost but most important is making sure the concerns of the people in and around the power station are met and what has been agreed in the planning to overcome the problems and hurdles are looked at.
“I will stand shoulder to shoulder with the residents to make sure what RES has promised in their application is carried out in full not just at the time of construction but well into the future.”